Skip to main content

Full text of "Memorials of old Shropshire"

See other formats










' Shrewsbury : A Historical and Topographical Account of the Ttnvn," ^tc. 





[All Rights Reserved] 







I SHOULD like by way of preface to say a few words 
as to what the reader may, and may not, expect 
to find in the following volume. He must not expect 
everything that falls under the head of MEMORIALS OF 
OLD SHROPSHIRE ; but if he has the patience to read the 
volume through, I venture to think he will be in possession 
of a fairly clear idea of the past history of the county, 
viewed under several aspects. In the chapters written 
by myself, and in those contributed by others, I have 
alike endeavoured to avoid the scrappiness which is too 
apt to attach to a volume like the present. When one 
knows a county well, there is always the temptation to 
trot out some particular hobby-horse, or even a whole 
team of them ; in other words, to give exaggerated 
prominence to some particular place, or person, or family, 
which may be of great interest to the writer himself or 
to a few local antiquaries, but is of very little value to 
the general reader. Such historical problems are of 
great use in the Transactions of a local society, but my 
desire is that the present volume may be found a readable 


book, accurate in its history, but as far as possible free 
from technicalities. With this view I have tried to make 
each chapter more or less complete in itself. This has 
occasionally involved a certain amount of repetition, but 
the viewing of the same incident from a different stand- 
point, and in a different setting, will, it is believed, only 
add to its interest, and give completeness to the picture 
as a whole. It has not appeared desirable to encumber 
the text to any large extent with foot-notes. The 
authorities consulted have been many in number, and of 
very various kinds ; some original and some already in 
print headed, of course, by the monumental work of 
Eyton but the aim of the volume did not seem to call 
for detailed references except in particular instances. 
It may be added that every chapter is new, and has 
been written expressly for the present work, with the 
exception of that on the old families of the county. 
This subject the late Mr. Stanley Leighton had made 
so thoroughly his own that it seemed better to reproduce 
what he had written than attempt anything new, only 
bringing up his paper to present date. Miss K. M. 
Roberts's illustrations may be left to speak for them- 

It only remains that I should express my warm 
thanks to those who, by contributions to which their 
names are appended, or by unacknowledged suggestions, 


have assisted to give the volume whatever merit it may 
possess; and to none am I more indebted than to the 
friend who has compiled the Index, but who in his 
modesty requests me to withhold his name. 

And so in the words of Chaucer 

Go, little book ; God send thee good passage. 

T. A. 


November ; 1906. 


General Story of the Shire 

The Origin and Evolution of the 

Religious Movements Mediaeval 
and Post- Mediaeval . 

Folk-Lore : Legends and Old 

Ludlow and the Council of the 

Shropshire and the Civil War, 
1642-1646 .... 

Old Shropshire Families : Changes 
in Land Ownership . 

Shropshire and its Schools . 

Architectural Story: Representa- 
tive Buildings .... 

Illustrious Salopians . . , 

By the EDITOR 



F.R.Hist.S. ... 25 

By the EDITOR . . 65 


D.Litt., F.R.Hist.S. . 143 

M.A 162 

By the late STANLEY 
LEIGHTON, M.P., F.S.A. 195 

M.A 210 

F.R.HistS. . . .236 

By the EDITOR 




The Abbey Church, Shrewsbury . . . Frontispiece 


Map of Shropshire ... . i 

Wenlock Priory .... .14 

North Gate, Bridgnorth . . '. . .18 

Old Bridge at Clun . . . . -38 

Buildwas Abbey ..... 7 2 

Lilleshall'Abbey .80 

Whittington Castle .... .128 

The Guildhall, Much Wenlock . . .';." .13 

Clun Castle ....... M4 

Ludlow Castle . . . . . . .158 

Hopton Castle . . . . . . .178 

High Ercall Hall 184 

The Solar Room, Stokesay Castle . . . .196 

Pitchford Hall 202 

Carved Figures, Much Wenlock .... 208 

Tong Church (Tomb of Foundress in foreground) . . 212 

Haughmond Abbey ...... 232 

Stokesay Castle, North Side . . . . .240 

Madeley Court ....... 246 

Bishop Percy's House, Bridgnorth . . . 264 

Condover Hall . . . . . .272 





Shrewsbury . . . (From an old Engraving) 2 

Stokesay Castle . .... 22 

Bridgnorth .... (From an old Engraving) $2 

Effigy in Shifnal Church ..... 70 

Ellesmere ........ 129 

English Bridge, Shrewsbury . . (From an eld Engraving) 1 5 1 

Albright Hussey . . . . 175 

Bridgnorth . . . (From an old Water-colour) 2 1 J 

BoSCObel ..... (From an old Engraving) 249 

Bromfield Priory . . . 267 




I HE history of Shropshire finds its centre of 
interest in the fact, which it shares with Cheshire 
on the north and Herefordshire on the south, 
that it is a border county, and as such has been 
associated with every wave of conquest which has passed 
across our island. It is remarkable, however, that it is 
first mentioned as a shire in connection with the only one 
of these waves which has practically left no impress upon 
its territory. It is in connection with the incursions of 
the Danes that the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle tells us that in 
the year 1006 the king (Ethelred) had gone over Thames 
into " Scrobbesbyrigscire," and there taken his abode in 
the midwinter's tide. The form of the name in this 
earliest mention shows that it followed the analogy of 
Gloucester and Worcester in being associated with the 
principal town, for Scrobbesbyrigscire is simply Shrews- 
buryshire ; but under Norman influence the name soon 
took a softened form. Under the year 1088 the same 
Chronicle speaks of the men of " Scrobscyre," and we 
probably owe to the same influence the form Salop, which 
is still used as a designation both of the shire and the 
principal town. Shrewsbury is the capital of Shropshire, 
or the county of Salop. 


When, however, we undertake to trace the story of 
Shropshire, we must go back to a period far antecedent 
to Saxon times. It had its part in invasions long before 
Jutes and Angles were heard of at a period when the 
weapons of warfare were of stone and bronze rather than 
of iron. No traces of Palaeolithic man have been found 
in the county, but there are fairly numerous remains of 
the Neolithic period, and of the Bronze and Early Iron 

From an] 


[Old Engraving. 

age, some of which are to be seen in the museum at 
Shrewsbury. As might be expected from the difference 
in physical character, there was at a very early period a 
difference between the civilization of the level country 
north of the Severn, and that of the hill country which 
forms the southern half of the county. The northern part 
was more easily subdued than the south, and so felt the 
influence of advancing culture sooner a state of things 


which is evidenced by the fact that almost, if not quite, 
all the prehistoric implements of bronze have been found 
north of the river, while those of stone have been found 
south of it. 

Anyone familiar with the peasantry of Shropshire will 
easily recognize in them the three earliest types which 
prevailed in Britain. There are specimens of the dark 
type, which we speak of as Iberian short of stature with 
dark hair and eyes and lengthened skulls and there are 
still more numerous specimens of the Celtic races which 
followed tall and brawny, with red hair and rounded 
skulls. These Celts, who appear to have come from Cen- 
tral Europe, arrived in Britain in two migrations. First 
came the Goidels, or Gaels, and when these had driven 
the Iberian race westward, they themselves were disturbed 
by the Brythons, and driven westward in turn. Each 
migration marked increased progress in civilization, but as 
each race moved towards the mountainous district the 
contest became more and more fierce, and the earthworks 
which crown so many of the Shropshire hills show how 
earnest and deadly the struggle was which took place on 
its borders. 

By degrees, however, there loomed on the horizon 
of Britain a power more mighty, and a civilization 
much more advanced. This was the Roman Empire, 
which first interfered in the affairs of the island under 
Julius Caesar in the year B.C. 55. It was not, however, till 
the middle of the following century that Shropshire was 
brought into contact with Rome. At that time the western 
borderland of England was occupied by three principal 
tribes, though it is impossible to define their exact boun- 
daries. These were the Cornavii on the north, whose 
territory embraced part of Staffordshire and the northern 
half at least of Shropshire ; to the west and south of 
them were the Ordovices ; and again south of these lay 
the Silures. These last were of wilder and fiercer manners 
than the other two, and included a large mixture of the 

pre-Celtic tribes, a fact which is evidenced by the preva- 
lence to this day of the Iberian type in the valleys of 
Monmouthshire and Glamorgan. The chief city of the 
Cornavii was on the Severn, near the spot where it is 
joined by the Tern, at no great distance from the foot of 
the Wrekin, on whose height was the camp of refuge to 
which they might betake themselves and their cattle in 
case of need. The time, however, had come when their 
city was to pass into other hands. In the year A.D. 43, 
the Legions of Rome again appeared in Britain, and this 
time they came to stay. Advancing northward and west- 
ward they reduced to subjection one tribe after another, 
and in the borderland made their power felt in the estab- 
lishment of a Roman city on the site occupied by the 
capital of the Cornavii. To this they gave the name of 
ViToconium, or Uriconium ; and monuments found on the 
site go to show that its foundation dates from the middle 
of the first century, when Ostorius Scapula was engaged 
in a final effort to subdue the British chief Caradoc, or 
Caractacus. That expedition had important results in 
various ways, and its immediate issue is thus described by 
Tacitus : 

The army next marched against the Silures, who, in addition to the 
native ferocity of their tribe, placed great hopes in the valour of Caractacus, 
whom the many changes and prosperous turns of fortune had advanced 
to a pre-eminence over the rest of the British leaders. He, skilfully 
availing himself of his knowledge of the country to countervail his inferiority 
in numbers, transferred the war into the country of the Ordovices, and 
being joined by those who distrusted the peace subsisting between them 
and us, soon brought matters to a decisive issue ; for he posted himself on 
a spot to which the approaches were as advantageous to his own party as 
they were perplexing to us. He then threw up on the more accessible 
parts of the highest hills a kind of rampart of stone ; below and in front 
of which was a river difficult to ford, and on the works were placed troops 
of soldiers, l 

The exact words of the annalist are important, because 
they are our only guide in fixing the site of this last stand 

1 Tacitus, Annals ii. n (Giles 1 translation). 


of Caractacus. It will be observed that Tacitus gives 
three positive data : it was in the country of the Ordo- 
vices, and it was on hills difficult of access (montibus 
arduis), on which he threw up a rampart of stone (in 
modum valli saxa prastruif), and which had at the base 
a river not easy to ford (amnis vado incertd). These par- 
ticulars make it certain that the battle took place within 
or on the borders of Shropshire, and various suggestions 
have been made as to the exact spot. The locality, how- 
ever, which seems to best fulfil the requirements of the 
passage from Tacitus the only one, in fact, which can 
show both a deep river and a stone rampart is the 
Breidden hills on the Montgomeryshire border, where its 
side descends abruptly to the Severn, which winds around 
its base. 

The result of the battle is well known Caractacus 
was defeated, and soon after carried to Rome, and Shrop- 
shire ceased to cause trouble to the Roman arms. Peace 
brought with it the development of the arts of peace, 
and Uriconium became an important centre of commerce. 
In the city itself, the huts of the Cornavii gave place to 
stately buildings of stone, including extensive public 
baths and a great basilica, of which the remnants still 
exist ; while in the neighbourhood wealthy Romans built 
villas of which the tesselated pavements discovered from 
time to time attest the importance. From Uriconium as 
a centre, roads led in all directions, but the tracks which 
in British days had guided uncertain steps through the 
forests gave place under Roman rule to paved ways which 
led straight to their destination, bridging the streams and 
triumphing over every obstacle. Lead mining was 
developed in the Stiperstones, and copper at Llanymynech 
Hill, and these products, together with the fruits of the 
soil, were articles of commerce which kept the roads well 
Frequented, and brought wealth to the districts through 
which they passed. 

There can be no doubt that the era of the Roman 


occupation was in many respects a time of prosperity for 
Shropshire. The wealth, of course, was mainly in the 
hands of the ruling race, who were probably not always 
considerate to those they ruled. No doubt it was British 
labour which reaped the fields and dug into the hills for 
minerals ; no doubt British shoulders bore the stones 
which paved the roads and gave stateliness to the build- 
ings of the city ; but the Romans in return gave them 
protection and peace, and imparted some at least of the 
culture which they themselves possessed. 

It is impossible to say to what extent this last was the 
case, and various opinions have been formed, but there 
can be no doubt as to the advantage of living under a 
powerful and, on the whole, a beneficent government. And 
yet this had one drawback, as events proved. There came 
a time never anticipated in earlier years when the 
Roman power in Britain waned, and her legions were with- 
drawn to defend territories nearer home. Then it was 
found that four centuries of peace had made the native 
races of the island more civilized, but less able to defend 
themselves when their protectors withdrew. The province 
had drafted many a brave soldier into the ranks of the 
legions to fight elsewhere, but the Britons as such had 
little or no military organization. 

They soon found out their need The last Roman 
legions left the island in the year 410, and already the 
clouds of another invasion were beginning to gather. The 
races of Central Europe who inhabited the lowlands round 
the mouth of the Elbe Saxons, Jutes, and Angles ; men 
who went down to the sea in ships, and occupied their 
business in great waters began to be restless in their 
own country, and to seek for other homes across the ocean. 
At first their invasions of this island were confined to the 
southern and eastern coasts, but like other invaders before 
them, they gradually took firmer grip of the land, and 
pushed their settlements westward and northward. The 
wave reached Shropshire in the latter half of the sixth 


century. In the year 577 the West Saxons, under the 
command of two brothers Ceawlin and Cutha gained a 
great victory over the Britons at Deorham, near Bristol, 
which gave them possession of the surrounding territory. 
They then, according to their usual method of proceed- 
ing, pushed their way up the valley of the Severn. The 
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle informs us that in 584 the brothers 
penetrated with their forces as far as a place called 
Fethanleag possibly in Cheshire, possibly in Stafford- 
shire where Cutha was slain ; but Ceawlin took many 
towns and much booty. Among them was almost cer- 
tainly Uriconium, which he left a smoking ruin. There is 
a curious legend as to its capture, which is of uncertain 
origin, but has survived to modern times among the neigh- 
bouring peasantry it is to the effect that the assailants, 
finding it impossible to break through the walls of the 
town, collected all the sparrows on which they could lay 
hands, and attaching lights to them, let them fly. These 
settled on the thatched roofs of the houses, and so set fire 
to the whole town, and enabled the enemy in the confusion 
to enter it without difficulty. 1 Anyway, the destruction 
was effectual. The inhabitants who survived betook them- 
selves to the loop of the Severn within which Shrewsbury 
now stands, and the ruins of Uriconium became for 
centuries to the popular mind a haunted place to be 
avoided by night, but a quarry by day from which might 
be taken materials for every form of building in the 

As just stated, it is in connection with the destruction 
of Uriconium that we get our first glimpse of what is now 
the county town. Under the name of Pengwern (the 
knoll of alders), a British settlement already occupied the 
high ground encircled by the river, and though this 
appears to have suffered in the same raid which destroyed 
Uriconium, it quickly recovered, and, re-peopled in part 

1 Wright's Uriconium, p. 80 ; Miss Burne's Shropshire Folk-Lore, p. 100. 


by refugees from the ruins of that city, became a flourish- 
ing centre of Celtic power, and the capital of the Princes 
of Powis. 

Meanwhile the Saxon invaders were growing more and 
more formidable ; they had effected settlements and set 
up kingdoms in every part of England except along the 
shores and among the hills of the west. The progress of 
their subjugation of Shropshire may be traced with some 
distinctness in the pages of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 

After the invasion of the West Saxons under Ceawlin, 
already described, the next danger came from the north. 
In the year 606 we are told that " Ethelfrith (of Northum- 
bria) led his army to Chester, and there slew numberless 
Welsh." Among these were a large body of monks from 
Bangor Iscoed, " who came thither to pray for the army 
of the Welsh." The British leader was Brochmail or 
Scromail, whose home was at Pengwern, and the result 
of this victory was to cripple the Celtic power in the north 
of the county, so that in the following reign the Northum- 
brians were able to attack the British stronghold of Caer 
Digoll, whose earthworks still crown the summit of the 
Long Mountain on the borders of the county. 

Meanwhile another kingdom was rising in the centre 
of England that of Mercia. Its rulers were ambitious 
and aggressive, and it soon came into conflict with other 
kingdoms of the invasion. In 642 the Chronicle records 
that "Oswald, King of the Northumbrians, was slain by 
Penda, the Southumbrian (Mercian), at Maserfield, on the 
Nones of August" This battle almost certainly took 
place near Oswestry, 1 which derives its name from 
Oswald's tree, and it marked a conflict not merely for 
military supremacy between two kingdoms, but between 
heathenism and Christianity. King Oswald is better 
known as St Oswald, who had done all he could to intro- 
duce and foster the Christian Faith in his kingdom. 

I Shropshire Arch&ological Society's Transactions , vol. ii.,'p. 97. 


Penda, on the other hand, was the champion of the old 
paganism which the invaders had brought with them from 
beyond the seas ; and the defeat and death of Oswald 
was disastrous because it rolled back for a time the spread 
of the religion of Christ. It was only, however, for a 
time. The missions which Oswald had fostered in the 
north sent out fresh emissaries southward t and before 
any long time Shropshire accepted Christianity at their 

At this period the kingdom of Wessex, after being for 
a considerable time subject to Mercia, again asserted itself. 
Turning once more to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, we read 
under the date 66 1 : 

In this year Kenwealh [King of Wessex] fought at Easter at Posentes- 
byrig, and Wulfhere, son of Penda, laid the country waste as far as 

Posentesbyrig is clearly Pontesbury, whose hill is still 
crowned with an extensive earthwork, and Aescesdun is 
probably to be identified with one of the numerous Astons 
which are dotted over almost the whole county. 

The victory put the West Saxons in possession of an 
important valley watered by the Rea, in which many of 
them effected settlements, 1 and from this time the con- 
quest of the shire was as complete as it ever became. All 
the river valleys had now been explored, and everywhere 
clearings were effected in the forests. Villages with their 
stockaded "burn," and their place of "folkmoot," sur- 
rounded by their village ground and pasture land, grew up 
in every direction, and became the rudiments of the 
villages and townships which form the principal features 
of country life to this day. 

The extent of this Saxon settlement of Shropshire 
may be easily traced by a study of the place-names which 
survive. It will be found that these are English over most 

1 For the effects of the different Saxon invasions on the language and 
customs of the county, cf. Miss Burne's Folk-Lore, pp. 618-19. 


of the county, but in the district known as Clun Forest 
on the south-west, and in the hill country at the back 
of Oswestry, they are very largely Welsh, showing that 
these two districts were never really taken possession of 
by the Saxons, but retained through all changes their old 
Celtic inhabitants. It only remained for Offa, who 
reigned over Mercia from 757 to 796, to consolidate the 
Saxon power in the border country by wresting Pengwern 
from the Britons and pushing their boundary further 
back to mark and secure the territory thus acquired. 
This he did by the great earthwork which he constructed, 
or in part adapted, extending from the mouth of the 
Dee to that of the Wye, which still bears the name 
of Offa's Dyke, and remains comparatively perfect 
in some parts of the county. His reign was also 
marked by a change of name in the case of the county 
town, such as must have taken place also with many 
less important settlements. Pengwern (the knoll of 
alders), when it passed into Saxon hands became Scrob- 
besbyrig (the settlement among the shrubs), a name 
which, like its previous designation, was derived from 
the character of its site ; and this, in various softened 
forms, has remained its name to this day. 

The wave of Danish invasion which rolled over 
England during the next two centuries, scarcely touched 
Shropshire. As already mentioned, the name occurs first 
in connection with it, but only incidentally. The first 
Danish fleet, consisting of only three vessels, arrived on 
the southern shore of England towards the close of Offa's 
reign, but this was but the beginning of Viking inva- 
sion and devastation. From that period almost up to the 
Norman Conquest, the pages of the Anglo-Saxon 
Chronicle are largely a record of monasteries plundered, 
churches destroyed, and forces routed by this formidable 
foe. It contains two entries besides that already alluded 
to, in which Shropshire is specially concerned. In the 
year 894, during the reign of Alfred the Great, we are 


told that the Danes " went up along the Thames until 
they reached the Severn, then up along the Severn." This 
apparently means that they penetrated up the Thames 
valley to the foot of the Cotswolds, and then crossed that 
ridge into the Severn valley somewhere in the neighbour- 
hood of Gloucester. The account goes on to say that the 
" earldorman Ethered " and others collected an army, 
which included " some parts of the North Welsh race," 
and " when they were all gathered together they 
followed after the (Danish) army to Buttington on 
the bank of the Severn, and there beset them on 
every side in a fastness." After some weeks of siege, 
by which the Danes were reduced to great straits 
of hunger, an engagement took place, and " the 
Christians had the victory." The village of Buttington 
lies just outside the present boundaries of Shropshire at 
the foot of the Long Mountain, and those who are 
familiar with the Severn Valley at that point will know 
how wisely Ethered and his allies chose their place of 
attack. Apparently few of the Danes survived to tell the 
tale. As late as the year 1839 a large quantity of skulls 
and other human remains were discovered at the spot, 
which were evidently relics of some such struggle. 

In the year 896 the invaders were again in this part of 
the country. Having been obliged to abandon their ships 
on the Lea near London, by the defences which King 
Alfred had erected between them and the sea, they made 
their way again across the kingdom. " They went over- 
land," the Chronicle tells us t " until they arrived at Quat- 
bridge on the Severn, and there wrought a work," that is, 
constructed a fort. " They then sat that winter at Bridge." 
There is no difficulty in identifying these places : 
" Bridge " is Bridgnorth, which has near it the village of 
" Quatford," and the occurrence is still further perpetuated 
by the name " Danesford " on the river itself. The 
invaders, however, had no opportunity of effecting 
permanent settlements. Ethered, whom Alfred had made 


earldorman of Mercia, kept a vigilant watch on behalf of 
the king, and in this he was ably seconded by his wife 
Ethelfleda, who was the king's daughter. She survived 
her husband some years, but the defence of her territory 
did not suffer by his death. She erected fortresses at 
Bridgnorth and Chirbury, and under the title " Lady of 
the Mercians," won wide regard. She was traditionally 
the founder of the church dedicated to St. Alkmund in 
the county town. 

The best proof, however, of the statement that the 
Danish invasion left no impress on the county, is to be 
found in a study of the place names. There is an entire 
absence of names ending in " by " and " thorpe," and 
" thwaite," for example, with which we are so familiar in 
the north and east of England. Danish blood has con- 
tributed nothing to the making of the Salopian character. 


In 1066 came the Norman invasion under William the 
Conqueror. It had been already prepared for by the 
weak rule of Edward the Confessor, who had largely given 
himself over to Norman influence, and in whose reign the 
Norman Richard FitzScrob had erected a castle on the 
southern border of this county, which was a centre of 
oppression to the neighbourhood, and gave its name to the 
modern village of Richard's Castle. William claimed the 
crown of England as the appointed heir of Edward the 
Confessor, but the title universally given to him of " the 
Conqueror," embodies the true facts of the case. He was 
no ordinary man. Known at first as William the Bastard, 
he had, while yet a youth, to overcome opposition in his 
native duchy which would have overwhelmed the majority 
of men, but which only served to bring out the force of 
his character. Every one is familiar with his invasion of 
England in September, 1066, and the result of the Battle 
of Senlac or Hastings. His victory was so complete that 


he was crowned the following Christmas at Westminster 
Abbey, then fresh from the hands of its founder, Edward 
the Confessor ; and though in many parts of the country 
the submission to him was merely nominal, he was able 
soon after to return to Normandy. He chose as Regents 
in his absence his half-brother Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, 
whom he created Earl of Kent, and William FitzOsbern, 
whom he made Earl of Hereford. They had the stern- 
ness of William without his wisdom, and the result of their 
rule was an outbreak of rebellion in various parts of the 
country. The leader of resistance to the Norman power 
in the west midlands was Edric Sylvaticus, or Wild Edric, 
who held considerable possessions in South Shropshire 
and Herefordshire. In alliance with the Welsh he led 
the men of Shropshire, Hereford, and Cheshire against 
Shrewsbury, where the Norman power had already estab- 
lished itself, and laid siege to it. Their success, however, 
seems to have been only partial, and after burning part of 
the town they retired. The incident illustrates the weak 
place of all the resistance to William, which was that the 
efforts were detached and isolated from one another, and 
so William, by attacking his enemies in detail, overcame 
one after another, until his power was firmly established. 

Among those who helped him and contributed to bring 
about this result was his friend and kinsman Roger de 
Montgomery, and William rewarded him with large 
possessions both in the south and west. He made him 
first of all Earl of Arundel, and then at a later period 
appointed him Earl of Shrewsbury, accompanying the 
latter appointment with lands which practically embraced 
the whole of Shropshire. As the result, Roger took up 
his abode at Shrewsbury, and erected a castle on the 
isthmus between the two arms of the Severn. Nothing 
of his work now remains except, perhaps, a portion of 
the entrance gateway, but it was sufficiently formidable 
to overawe the surrounding district. 

Roger's personal rule seems to have varied somewhat 


according to the domestic influences brought to bear on 
him. During the regime of his first wife, Mabel de 
Belesme, who was cruel and oppressive, his policy ran in 
the same direction ; but after her murder by those who 
had suffered from her rapacity, Roger married Adeliza de 
Puiset, who was a woman of very different character. 
Under her influence, his rule was milder, and in particular 
he founded various religious houses, including the Cluniac 
Priory of Wenlock and the Benedictine Abbey of Shrews- 

Meanwhile, however, the Earl was growing old. His 
friend and patron, William the Conqueror, died in 1087 ; 
and in 1094, finding his own health failing, he retired to 
the Abbey he had founded, and enrolling himself as a 
brother, died there, and was buried near to the High Altar 
of the Monastic Church. A tomb is still shown there as 
his monument, but the effigy belongs to a later date than 
his death. 

The social changes wrought in Shropshire by the 
Norman conquest were great, as shown by a study of the 
Domesday survey. The county was at that time divided 
into fifteen hundreds, each consisting of a number of 
manors, whose owners and their tenants are recorded, 
together with the value of each as it was then, and as 
it had been in the reign of Edward the Confessor. Earl 
Roger was the owner or strictly, tenant in capite of 
all but a very few manors, which belonged to the Bishop 
of Chester and Ralph de Mortimer respectively, and those 
who held under any of the three, almost without exception, 
bore Norman names ; a few were held by ecclesiastical 
bodies. Among the sub-tenants were a small number who 
appear from their names to be Saxon, but it is clear that 
the dispossession of those who had owned the land in 
the time of King Edward was very complete. It was im- 
possible for this change to take place without injustice 
and hardship of the severest kind at the time when it was 
effected, but it had its redeeming features. The Normans 



were more thrifty and temperate in their personal habits, 
more able to adapt themselves to new circumstances and 
to assimilate what was good in their surroundings, than 
those whom they dispossessed. The result was that the 
Normans supplied the element of organization which the 
Saxons had lacked, and no long period elapsed before the 
two were fused into one powerful nation. " The English 
tongue and the English law held their own throughout 
the realm, and within a century the French baron had 
become an English lord." 1 

As regards Shropshire itself, though this gradual 
fusion was going on underneath, the century which 
followed the death of the Conqueror was largely one of 
trouble and unrest. The reign of Henry I. was disturbed 
by the rebellion of Robert de Belesme, the eldest son of 
Roger de Montgomery, who appears to have inherited the 
bad qualities of his mother, Roger's first wife. Espousing 
the cause of Robert Curthose on the death of William 
Rufus, Belesme raised a formidable rebellion against 
Henry. He was besieged by the King in his castle of 
Bridgnorth, but escaped to Shrewsbury. Having reduced 
the garrison left behind at Bridgnorth, the King followed 
him to Shrewsbury, making his way over Wenlock Edge 
by a new road which he caused to be formed for the 
purpose, and so arriving before Belesme was prepared. 
Henry accepted his submission, and contented himself 
with banishing him from the kingdom, but he carried his 
turbulent spirit with him, and a few years later the King 
seized an opportunity of arresting him, and he ended his 
days a prisoner in the castle of Wareham. 

Henry paid other visits to Shropshire later on in his 
reign. Two documents issued by him bear date at Nor- 
ton, in the parish of Condover, and Shrewsbury received 
from him privileges which are alluded to and confirmed 
in an extant Charter of King John. It is almost certain 

1 Social England (ist ed.), vol. i., p. 243. 


that the county also benefited in another way by his 
administrative ability. A comparison of the Hundreds of 
Shropshire, as they appear in Domesday, and as they 
existed a century later, shows that there had been wise 
revision and re-arrangement of their boundaries, by which 
their administration was rendered more easy. It cannot, 
indeed, be proved that this was actually the work of 
Henry, but it was at least work which would be congenial 
to one who gained the name of Beauclerc by his learning 
and acquirements ; and he knew the county so intimately 
that he might well choose it for the exercise of his adminis- 
trative skilL 

In 1135, however, Henry died, and twenty years of 
anarchy followed, in which Shropshire bore its share of 
suffering. The right to the throne was contested between 
Matilda, or Maud, the daughter of Henry, and Stephen 
of Blois, the grandson of the Conqueror through the female 
line ; and this disputed succession gave an opportunity 
for a display of all the worst features of the feudal system. 
Barons everywhere erected castles, which became centres 
of oppression and lawlessness, which there was no central 
power with sufficient authority to control. Most of the 
Shropshire nobles seem to have espoused the cause of 
Matilda. The castles of Ellesmere, Whittington, Ludlow, 
and Shrewsbury are all mentioned as garrisoned for the 
Empress, and of these Shrewsbury sustained a siege in 
1138 by Stephen himself, who succeeded in capturing it, 
and he put the garrison to the sword. He had not, how- 
ever, the tact to reap any advantages from his success, and 
at last, in utter weariness, an agreement was come to by 
which Stephen should hold the crown for his life, but that 
it should then pass to Henry, the son of Matilda. 

The anarchy was productive of two good results : the 
need of a refuge for the weak led to the development of 
monastic life and a large increase of religious houses ; and 
the insecurity of the country led to the enlargement of 
the towns, and their growth in importance and influence. 


Neither development, indeed, was an unmixed good, but 
for the time the one secured a home for piety and learn- 
ing, and the other laid the foundation of liberty and trade. 


Henry II. succeeded to the throne in 1154. The diffi- 
culties which confronted him were enough to daunt the 
spirit of a man as young as he was at the time, but they 
only served to bring out the force that was latent in his 
character. His first work was to lessen the power of the 
barons by reducing the number of their castles. Among 
those who resisted the king's wishes in this respect was 
Hugh de Mortimer, who held castles at Cleobury Mortimer 
and Bridgnorth in this county, and Wigmore just over the 
Herefordshire border. Henry laid siege to these in turn, 
and Mortimer made his submission at Bridgnorth in 
July, 1155. 

Meanwhile the Welsh were becoming increasingly 
troublesome, and from this period till their final subjuga- 
tion by Edward I, the records of Shropshire are largely 
concerned with their incursions, and the efforts made to 
keep them under control. 

Henry II. was in North Wales in 1157, and in South 
Wales the year following, and he made a further expedition 
against his troublesome neighbours in 1165, but none of 
these efforts achieved more than a partial and temporary 
success. The same may be said of the efforts of John 
and of Henry III. In the reigns of both these last 
mentioned, the prince who ruled in North Wales was 
Llewelyn ap lorwerth, known as Llewelyn the Great ; 
and though John endeavoured to attach him to himself by 
giving him his natural daughter Joan in marriage, he 
continued to be a scourge to Shropshire as long as he 
lived. The Welsh supported the barons in extorting from 
John the Magna Charta at Runnymede t but Shrewsbury 
continued loyal to the king, probably in part from the fact 


that he had conferred on the town no less than three 
charters. Llewelyn marched against it, and took 
possession of it, but only held it for a few months. It 
was destined, however, again to feel that prince's power 
at a later period. One of the last acts of his reign was 
to lay waste the surrounding country up to its very 


So matters went on till the sceptre fell from the weak 
hands of Henry III., and passed into those of Edward I. 
The chief power in Wales at this time was wielded by 
Llewelyn ap Gruffydd, a grandson of Llewelyn the Great, 
of whom he was a worthy descendant. He had measured 
swords with Edward during the rebellion of Simon de 
Montfort, before his accession to the throne, and had 
shown himself an adversary worthy of his steel. When 
Edward became king, Llewelyn first delayed, and at last 
refused, to do homage, and Edward marched against him, 
and with the co-operation of his brother David, effected 
his submission. As the result t however, of the attempt to 
introduce English law and custom into Wales, rebellion 
again broke out under the joint leadership of Llewelyn 
and David, the latter having forsworn his allegiance to 
the king. Edward determined once for all to crush the 
turbulence of Wales, and he succeeded. Llewelyn fell in 
an obscure skirmish near Builth, and a few months later, 
in June, 1283, David was betrayed into the king's hands, 
and sent in chains to Shrewsbury. Here a parliament was 
called to consider his case, and he was sentenced to be 
executed with various marks of barbarity. This Shrews- 
bury parliament is, however, chiefly famous as marking 
a great step in constitutional government. For the 
first time representatives of the Commons took part in 
the deliberations by legal authority. During its session 
in Shrewsbury the king probably stayed at Acton Burnell 
with his friend and chancellor, Robert Burnell, Bishop of 
Bath and Wells, and when the parliament had dealt with 
David, its meeting was adjourned to Acton Burnell itself, 






where it passed an important statute dealing with the 
recovery of debts. 

Edward followed up the subjugation of Wales by 
the erection of a large number of border castles, of which 
the ruins of many still survive. These served the double 
purpose of overawing the Welsh and protecting the Eng- 
lish who were encouraged to settle among them, and their 
ruins are an abiding memorial that the power of Wales 
as an independent nation was permanently crushed. 

The century which followed the death of Edward I. 
was comparatively uneventful to Shropshire, but in 1403 
it again came into notice. Political affairs were at the 
time in a very unsettled condition. The Scots were 
causing trouble in the north, and Owen Glyndwr was in 
rebellion in Wales, while the tenure of the crown by 
Henry IV. had on it the taint of usurpation. In July of 
that year, the Percys, who had been the mainstay of 
Henry's power in the north, threw off their allegiance and 
marched southward against him. Their forces, led by 
Hotspur, son of the Earl of Northumberland, met those 
of the king near Shrewsbury, and on the spot now marked 
by the church of Battlefield, a fierce contest took place. 
The result was a great victory for the king. Hotspur was 
himself slain, with an unusually large number of distin- 
guished men on both sides, and a blow was struck at 
feudalism from which it never wholly recovered. The 
interest of the battle of Shrewsbury will, however, always 
find its centre not in prose, but in verse ; not in the pages 
of the chronicler, but in those of the dramatist. Shake- 
speare has immortalized the contest in his Henry IV., and 
by his creation of the character of Falstaff has given us 
a fictitious hero who is better known than the real heroes 
of the fight. Those who remember little about the king 
or Hotspur are well acquainted with the deeds and say- 
ings of that fat and doughty knight. 

After another half century of tranquillity, the county 
was called to bear its part in the Wars of the Roses. 


Richard, Duke of York, the father of Edward IV., paid 
several visits to Shropshire, and was so great a favourite 
in Shrewsbury that his statue, which now fills a niche in 
the Old Market Hall, was set up over the gate which 
gave admission at the Welsh Bridge. At the time of his 
death, his son Edward was staying in Shrewsbury, and it 
was from thence he marched southward, and by his victory 
over the Lancastrian forces at Mortimer's Cross, near 
Ludlow, secured for himself possession of the throne. 

After a troubled reign of twenty-two years, 
Edward IV. died in 1483, and his power passed into the 
hands of his son, a child of eleven. The reign of 
Edward V., as might be expected from the temper of the 
times, was merely nominal. Before three months had 
elapsed, his uncle Richard usurped the throne, and the boy 
king, along with his little brother (who had been born at 
Shrewsbury), was smothered in the Tower of London. 
Richard III., however, was not long to enjoy his usurped 
authority. Henry, Earl of Richmond, claimed the throne, 
and in August, 1485, landed at Milford Haven to assert 
his claim. Thence he directed his course to Shrewsbury, 
where he slept at the house near the top of the Wyle 
Cop, which still remains, and so on to Bosworth Field, 
where Richard was defeated and slain, and he succeeded 
as Henry VII., the first king of the House of Tudor. 

(4) TUDOR 

During this period the history of Shropshire mainly 
centres in two movements, one wholly political, the other 
both political and religious; the former was the founda- 
tion and development of the Court of the Marches, the 
latter was the movement which we know as the 
Reformation. Each of these will form a subject of 
treatment in another part of this volume, and so it 
will be sufficient in this place to mention that the 
Court of the Marches had its origin in the reign of 


Edward IV., who appointed a council to assist his 
son as Prince of Wales, which should curb the power 
of the Lords Marchers and secure justice for the Welsh. 
It was consolidated and made a permanent institution 
by Henry VII., whose eldest son Arthur held court 
at Ludlow with his bride Katharine of Arragon. The 
best known of those who filled the office of President 
of the Council were Rowland Lee, Bishop of Coventry and 
Lichfield, who was appointed in 1534, and who, on his 
death at Shrewsbury, in 1542, was buried in St. Chad's 
Church; and Sir Henry Sidney, appointed in 1559, whose 
son, Sir Philip Sidney, was one of the distinguished 
alumni of Shrewsbury School. The Court lasted till 
1689, but for some considerable period before that date 
had lost its original importance. 


Shropshire had its full share in the incidents of the 
Civil War between Charles I. and the Parliament, and 
the Oak at Boscobel, within its boundaries as recorded 
in an inscription at its base " had the honour of shelter- 
ing from his foes his Majesty King Charles II." after the 
battle of Worcester. As this period, however, will also 
receive a special record in another part of the volume, any 
detailed account of the strife is omitted here. Suffice it 
to say that in the early years of the contest, at any rate, 
Shropshire for the most part was Royalist. Charles I. paid 
a visit to Shrewsbury almost immediately after raising his 
standard at Nottingham, in August, 1642, and evidently 
regarded the county as one of those in which his cause 
was strongest. The castles and country houses were 
nearly all garrisoned the majority for the king but 
various causes combined to weaken his hold, and in spite 
of the brilliant exploits of Prince Rupert and the more 
solid work of men like Sir Francis Ottley, the Governor 
of Shrewsbury, the Royalist cause gradually lost ground 



till the battle of Worcester made its ruin for a while 

In due time, however, came the reaction, and in 
1660 Charles II. was called to his ancestral throne amid 
the acclamations of the people. Their hopes were not 
destined to be wholly realized, for want of tact was bound 
up in the very nature of the Stuarts, but it remained for 
James II. to exhibit this characteristic in the form most 


objectionable to the English people. By his own change 
of religion, and by his arbitrary measures, carried out by 
men like Judge Jeffreys, he aroused a jealousy for the 
liberties of the nation, which was only satisfied by his 

Shropshire did not feel the immediate effects of 
these changes to any marked degree. Shrewsbury was 
one of the towns from which, at the close of the reign 


of Charles II., was demanded the surrender of its 
charter, and this was returned by James in a form 
which provoked strong feeling against his claim to 
arbitrary power, but it was also one of the towns which 
he honoured with a personal visit. Jeffreys, too, was 
connected with the county. He was educated at Shrews- 
bury School, where there exists a portrait much more 
pleasing than might be expected from his character and 
actions, and it was as Baron of Wem that he was raised 
to the peerage. He does not, however, appear to have 
ever made it his home. 

Since the Revolution the story of the shire has been 
for the most part uneventful. The Court of the Marches, 
as already mentioned, was abolished in 1689, and gradually 
everything which gave a distinct mark to the public life 
of the county passed away. But it has maintained a 
character of its own all through, as is easily recognized 
by any who have lived both in Shropshire and in other 
parts of the midlands or the north. Local life and local 
feeling have been, and still are, strong in Shropshire. 
This has arisen partly from its distance from the Metro- 
polis, and it showed itself especially in the eighteenth 
century. Then the towns, and particularly Shrewsbury 
and LudloWj had each its own season, for which the county 
families went into residence, as they now go to London. 
As a tourist, who stayed at Ludlow in 1772, said of that 
town, there were to be found there " abundance of pretty 
ladies," " provisions extremely plentiful and cheap," and 
" very good company." 1 Since thaf period Shropshire 
has been brought into closer contact with the outer world, 
firstly by the rise of coaches, and more recently by that of 
railways, but in conjunction to some extent with the two 
neighbouring shires of Chester and Hereford it has 
maintained its individuality more than most counties. 
Bishop Creighton showed his usual true historic instinct 

1 Salopian Shreds and Patches, rol. i., p. 104. For the social life 
of the county town, cf. the Author's Shrewsbury ', pp. 213-244. 


as well as his knowledge of facts when he said of 
Shropshire : 

It shows the growth of agricultural prosperity in a fertile district, 
which became prosperous as soon as it was freed from disorder. It shows 
how the baronial civilisation of early times gave way before the changed 
conditions of the country which began in the reigns of the Tudor Kings. 
It still bears on its surface the traces of the gradual progress of English 
society in a region where local life was strong, and where its course had 
been but slightly affected by the development of modern industry, which 
in other counties has nearly obliterated the records of the past.l 


Creighton, Some English Shires, p. 209. 



IMES have changed since the days when the 
Roman city of Uriconium probably represented 
the only town within the limits of what is now 
the county of Salop. If there were other con- 
siderable centres of population in the district they have 
completely vanished and left no trace behind. The Saxon 
invaders swept away the relics of Roman civilization, and 
in their dread of magical influences avoided the sites of 
the Roman villas and towns. Refugees from Uriconium 
established themselves where Shrewsbury now stands 
defended by the curve of the Severn, and for about a 
hundred years Pengwern was an outpost of the Celt 
against the Saxon. After its conquest by Offa it still 
retained its importance, but the Anglo-Saxon borough was 
not much more than a village on a larger scale. The 
burgesses of Shrewsbury had their fields to till and cattle 
to herd, and the diggings of foundations have gone to 
show that cattle were watered where now the Post Office 
stands, and a farmyard occupied the site of the Shire HalL 
Men met at the town for market in time of peace, and 
in time of war they could take refuge within the fortified 
peninsula. The burgesses were the king's men, and held 
their town by service of guarding the king when he came 
to Shrewsbury. Twelve burgesses of the better sort kept 
watch over him, and when he went hunting, those that 



had horses went with him. The Sheriff sent thirty-six 
men to drive the game for the king, and when the hunt 
was in Marsley Park, they were bound for eight days 
to serve there. 

At the time of the Domesday survey of England, in 
1086, only eighty towns are mentioned, of which Shrews- 
bury is one. None of the other Shropshire towns were 
then more than villages, unless it were Ludlow, and though 
there are coins extant minted at Ludlow, the Domesday 
record makes no mention of its status as a borough. The 
account of Shrewsbury, on the other hand, is very com- 
plete, and tells us that there were three " moneyers " there, 
and what they paid to the king ; what dues were paid by 
the burgesses ; and how, when the king left the town, the 
sheriff sent twenty-four horses with him as far as Leint- 
wardine if he went south, or the first stage in Staffordshire 
if he went that way. 

Under the Norman Earl, Roger de Montgomery, a 
kinsman of the Conqueror, the castle was enlarged, the 
site of fifty houses being given up to it. Fifty more 
houses lay waste in 1086 ; forty-three were inhabited by 
" francigeni," who do not seem to have paid the same 
taxes as the " Angligeni," and thirty-nine burgesses had 
been given by the Earl to the Abbey he had just founded. 
The calculation in Domesday says that there were 193 
houses which paid nothing out of the 252 of which Shrews- 
bury consisted in the days of Edward the Confessor. The 
population of the Saxon town can hardly have reached 
1,300 souls, but there were four churches within the borough 
and a fifth just outside its area. To this town, already 
possessing an important place in the life of the county, 
Earl Roger added not only a castle that might at the same 
time protect and overawe the burgesses, but also a great 
abbey at their gates. Later times saw the erection of a 
strong town wall of stone and the steady growth of 
municipal life, but that we have not space to fully 


Shrewsbury thus existed before either castle or abbey, 
and was comparatively little affected by their proximity. 
The influence of the Abbot was mainly confined to the 
suburb of the Abbey Foregate, where the inhabitants were 
chiefly his tenants, and the castle, passing from the hands 
of the Norman earls to those of the king, was frequently 
entrusted to his faithful burgesses. Robert de Belesme, 
the last Norman earl, is credited with building the first 
stone wall of Shrewsbury, but it was not till the town had 
passed from his hands to those of the king that we hear 
of much progress in the town's prosperity. Henry I. 
diminished the heavy rent paid by the burgesses, and 
granted them many privileges, which were confirmed by 
his great-grandson, King John, in his first charter to the 
town. Shrewsbury was visited by Henry I. in time of 
peace, and by Stephen in time of war, when he besieged 
and took the castle. Henry II. was there more than 
once, and ratified the privileges given by Henry I., and we 
learn from Giraldus Cambrensis that some degree of 
comfort was to be found in Shrewsbury in 1188, when 
he and Archbishop Baldwin came there to rest themselves 
after their Welsh journeyings. 

In the reign of Richard I. the burgesses were allowed 
to hold the town under the king by a yearly rent of forty 
marks of silver, and King John in his second charter 
authorized their plan of self-government by two provosts 
chosen from among the burgesses, and a common council. 
A third charter of King John further confirmed the status 
of the town, and probably the burgesses felt that the 
privileges were well worth the hundred marks that were 
paid for the charters. In 1209 we see a trace of the trade 
of the town in an ordinance forbidding the sale in the 
town of raw hides or undressed cloth except by those 
assized and talliaged with the burgesses. 

The wars with Wales made royal visits to Shrewsbury 
of frequent occurrence, and the Castle still shows the 
round towers that marked the military architecture of 


the reign of Edward I. On September 3Oth, 1283, in 
the Parliament summoned by Edward I. to meet at Shrews- 
bury, there were one hundred and ten earls and barons, 
two knights from each shire, and two deputies each from 
twenty of the principal towns of the kingdom, of which 
Shrewsbury was one. The Parliament condemned David, 
Prince of Wales, to death, and then adjourned to Acton 
Burnell. After the submission of Wales, the town lost in 
military importance, but gained in civil, though the popu- 
lation continued small, judged from our modern standards. 
In 1313, 1 88 laymen were taxed in the town for the 
fifteenth granted to the king. Only one ecclesiastic is 
mentioned the Prior of St. John's Hospital ; so the popu- 
lation apparently numbered, within the walls of the town 
itself, not many more than one thousand. Nearly all those 
burgesses taxed possessed live stock, horses, cattle, or 
pigs, especially the latter, which down to the time of 
Elizabeth ran at will in the streets, and were probably 
useful as scavengers. 

The Gild Merchant of the town, which was in existence 
before the close of the twelfth century, grew in power and 
importance as time went on, and by degrees the separate 
crafts possessed their own gilds, the chief among which 
were those of the Drapers and of the Shearmen, the 
former of whom were merchants of Welsh cloth, and the 
latter the preparers of it for the English market. 

Under Richard II. the town made progress in self- 
government, and probably a fire which in 1394 burnt 
St Chad's Church and a considerable part of the town 
caused the building of better houses than the borough 
had before possessed. Three years later the king 
adjourned a parliament from Westminster to Shrewsbury, 
coming there from Lilleshall Abbey in state on January 
29th, and remaining there till after the 6th of February. 
The townsmen suffered much from the disorderly followers 
of the king, and when Henry of Lancaster usurped the 
throne they were among his earliest adherents. He had 


been present with the king at the Shrewsbury Parlia- 
ment, and probably won popularity in the town at that 

From the days of Henry IV. onward the business of 
the town prospered, and Shrewsbury perhaps attained its 
greatest importance in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. 
The half-timbered houses of the latter date testify to the 
prosperity of the townsmen, and more than one Shrews- 
bury burgess bought a country estate and founded a 
family. The reigns of the Tudors were times of pros- 
perity, and the old Market Hall still stands as it was built 
in 1596. The Civil Wars injured the town in many ways, 
and brought about the dismantling of the castle under 
James II., and the eighteenth century saw the decline of 
the trade in Welsh cloth, and the crystallising of the 
town into what it now is : a centre of all county business, 
and of much importance as a market for agricultural 
produce, with social life of its own, and an atmosphere of 
calm respectability and absence of bustle. Shrewsbury 
is the embodiment of the word " town " to all the villages 
round about, but it stands completely apart from the 
present-day ideal set forth in a busy manufacturing centre, 
of which Birmingham, for instance, is an embodiment. 

LUDLOW. Ludlow, though a town before the days of 
the Conqueror, became overshadowed by the great 
baronial castle founded within its precincts. There seems 
little doubt that an early tumulus, from which its name 
is derived, formed the centre of a Saxon town sufficiently 
important to possess a mint, and that the fact mentioned in 
Domesday that " Lude " possessed a bailiff (J>r<zpo situs} 
goes to show the existence of the borough in 1086. The 
Domesday Book does not mention the castle, which was 
probably built by Roger de Lacy soon after the compila- 
tion of that record, though tradition assigns it to Earl 
Roger de Montgomery. In the reign of Henry II. mention 
is made of burgesses of Ludlow, and in 1221 the town was 


represented at the Assizes by the Provost and twelve 
jurors. Eleven years after this a plan was formed for 
enclosing the town with a wall, and six years later the 
borough is mentioned as possessing its court distinct from 
that of Walter de Lacy, the lord of the castle. In 1260, 
Geoffrey de Genevill, then lord of Ludlow, was empowered 
to levy tolls for five years towards the walling of the 

The borough suffered a good deal at the hands of its 
powerful neighbours, and the records of the thirteenth cen- 
tury show not a few instances of trouble with the 
retainers of the neighbouring barons. For example, on 
St. Laurence's Day (August loth), 1274, at Ludlow Fair, 
three men, one the Beadle of Cleobury Mortimer, arrested 
and wished to take to prison at Cleobury, Roger Tyrel, 
the keeper of Galdeford Gate. In his capacity as gate- 
keeper he had refused to let the men pass with the oxen 
they had bought at the Fair unless they showed their 
tallies. They set upon him, wounded him, and took away 
his weapon, and were in the act of taking him with them 
as a prisoner when the Bailiff of Ludlow and his Serjeants 
came upon the scene. The Bailiff of Stottesdon Hun- 
dred and his following took the side of the Cleobury men, 
and tried to arrest the Bailiff of Ludlow when he ordered 
Roger to be released. Altogether we have the picture of 
a very stormy fair day, and do not envy the gate-keeper 
his post. 

The chief trade of Ludlow was cloth, and one of the 
first burgesses of Shropshire who built himself a house 
and acquired an estate in the country was Laurence de 
Ludlow, who, having made a fortune as a cloth merchant 
in that town, bought Stokesay. He received the royal 
license to crenellate it (i.e., make it a fortified manor 
house) in 1290. The prosperity of Ludlow probably 
began in the twelfth century, for in 1199 the church 
was considered too small for the town. Apparently the 
first church had been a little Saxon sanctuary built to 


Christianise the mound that had been a place of mark in 
heathen times. Mediaeval clergy had little regard for the 
works of those who had lived before them, and in order 
to lengthen their church to the eastward they carted away 
the tumulus, and finding in it three early interments, pro- 
nounced the bodies to be those of Irish saints, and placed 
them in triumph in their new church. Probably the fact 
of the De Lacy lords of Ludlow having estates in Ireland 
accounted for the supposed nationality of the saints. 

The formation of the Court of the Marches under 
Edward IV. tended to make the town more and more an 
appanage of the castle, holding the same relation to it 
in its degree as the town of Windsor does to Windsor 

Leland, in the first half of the sixteenth century, gives 
a long description of Ludlow, and speaks of it as " fair- 
walled " with five gates ; and Camden says that there " the 
Lord President doth keep his Courts, which seldom slacken 
in business." 

BRIDGNORTH. The first borough to be founded in 
Shropshire after the Conquest was at Quatford, where 
Roger de Montgomery, at the request of his second wife, 
the Countess Adeliza, built a church in honour of St. Mary 
Magdalene, and a house for himself, with a town round 
about them. This foundation lasted barely forty years 
before it was transferred to Bridgnorth, which was founded 
by Earl Robert de Belesme in 1102, when he built the 
castle there and transferred to that site the castle and 
borough his father, Earl Roger, had founded at Quatford 
in the manor of Erdington. The neighbourhood had seen 
an encampment of the Danes in the winter of 896, and 
Ethelfleda, the Lady of Mercia, had built a castle in 913 
at Oldbury, the mound of which still remains. The 
chronicler, Florence of Worcester, says that men worked 
night and day to build the Castle of Bridge (Brug), and 
in 1 1 02 it was strong enough to stand siege from the 


king's forces for thirty days. After the fall of Earl 
Robert, Brug passed into the king's hands, and remained 
a royal fortress for the greater part of its existence. 

The borough did not grow up under the shadow of the 
castle, but was transferred, with what inhabitants and 
privileges it already possessed, from Quatford. Orderi- 
cus, in his account of the fact, calls it a town (oppidum), 
and the Domesday record of Quatford speaks of a borough 

From an] 


\Qld Engraving. 

(burgus) there. Henry I. attached the town to himself by 
the grant of various privileges, which were recognised in 
1157 by his grandson Henry II. in a charter recited in 
subsequent grants. Two years later the only Shropshire 
towns that were assessed for a gift (donum) to the king 
were Shrewsbury and Brug, the former paying fifty and 
the latter ten marks. The following year Shrewsbury, 
Brug, and Newport paid forty, twelve, and one-and-a-half 


marks respectively for another similar donum. Before 
the end of the twelfth century the burgesses freed them- 
selves from the control of the Sheriff of Shropshire, and 
became responsible to the king for the annual ferm of 
ten marks (6 133. 4d.) from the town. In addition to 
this yearly sum, the towns were constantly required to pay 
levies to the king to meet special exigencies. These 
tallages seem to have been generally assessed at the rate 
of Shrewsbury paying three times as much as Brug, 
which is probably an indication of their relative size and 
importance. In 1215, the burgesses were allowed wood 
out of Morf Forest for the fortification of their town, and 
in 1 220 they had a grant of tolls for four years, being 
allowed to charge d. on every Shropshire cart bringing 
articles into the town for sale, and id. on a cart from any 
other county. Other tolls are also mentioned on pack- 
horses, cattle and barges. About this time the burgesses 
had a long quarrel with those of Shrewsbury as to their 
right of buying undressed cloth and raw hides in Shrews- 
bury, the Shrewsbury burgesses being anxious to restrict 
the privilege to themselves. 

The Borough is mentioned in 1222 as ruled by two 
bailiffs, or provosts. The next year the bailiffs of Bristol 
were ordered by Henry III. to allow the burgesses of Brug 
all the privileges granted them by the charter of his father. 
In 1226, the king, having just left Bridgnorth for Kidder- 
minster, granted the town a fair on the eve, the day, and 
the morrow of St. Luke's Day (October i8th). This 
grant was to hold till the king came of age, which he 
did the following year, when he gave a new charter, recog- 
nizing many privileges of the town, and granting them 
a Gild Merchant, with the clause that if any man born a 
serf should come to live and hold land in the borough, 
and be a member of the Gild, and pay lott and scoff with 
the burgesses for a year and a day without being claimed 
by his lord, he should be free in the borough. The bur- 
gesses were to be free of tolls throughout the king's 


dominions, and to hold the royal mill of Pendleston on 
the Worf for ever at a rent of 10 yearly. In 1231 the 
burgesses received payment for the carriage of forty casks 
of wine for the king to Castle Matilda in North Wales, 
and for unloading the rest of the King's wine and storing 
it at Brug. In 1256 the borough had two charters from 
the king, giving the burgesses further privileges in 
managing their own affairs, probably as a reward for their 
loyalty to the king in the struggle with Simon de Mont- 
fort. In 1321 the castle was taken and held by the barons 
against Edward II., but soon after was retaken by the 
king, who five years later took refuge there from his 

The trade of Bridgnorth seems to have flourished 
throughout mediaeval times, but in the reign of Elizabeth 
a change in fashion appears to have affected it, and in 
1571 an Act of Parliament was passed to enforce the wear- 
ing of woollen caps, because by the going out of use of such 
headgear was brought about the " decay, ruin and desola- 
tion of divers antient Cities and Boroughs which had been 
the nourishers and bringers-up in that faculty of great 
numbers of people, as London, also Exeter, Bristowe, 
Monmouth, Hereford, Rosse and Bridgnorth." 

During the years of peace of the fifteenth and sixteenth 
centuries the Market and Town Hall stood before the 
north gate outside the walls, but when the Civil War 
broke out in 1642, it was pulled down lest it should inter- 
fere with the defences of the town, and its successor, the 
present Town Hall, was finished during the Common- 

In addition to the fair on St. Luke's Day, the town had 
the grant from Edward III. of a four days' fair on the 
feast of the Translation of St. Leonard and the three days 
following (November 6th). 

Leland describes the walls of Bridgnorth as being all 
in ruins, and in his account says : " The Towne stood 
by Cloathing, and that now decayed, the Towne sore 


decayed therewith." Camden only mentions its history 
as a fortress. In 1 764 it is called a " large and populous 
town," and a " place of great trade, both by land and 
water " ; while in 1720 the town is said to be " as famous 
for making stockings as any in the kingdom," and to be 
well supplied with " all sorts of artificers, and is very 
famous for gun-making." Its position on the Severn 
brought it much trade in the days when all heavy carriage 
was conveyed by water, and at the beginning of the nine- 
teenth century a considerable amount of boat-building 
was carried on there. 

OSWESTRY. The town of Oswestry, if not actually 
of Norman foundation, owes its status as a borough 
to the Norman castle built soon after the Conquest. It 
is a little uncertain when Oswestry was founded. 
Tradition gives it a Welsh origin, but probably it 
does not go back to a date earlier than the king 
whose name it bears, who was killed in battle in 642. 
Domesday does not mention the place by name, but 
tells us that the large manor of Maesbury (Meresberie) 
was held by Rainald the Sheriff, and that it had a 
church and a priest, and a castle work (Castellum Luure), 
and was head of the Hundred of Mersete. We gather 
from the record that on the spot hallowed in the 
popular mind by the death of St. Oswald, War in, the 
Norman Sheriff of Shropshire, had founded a stronghold 
and a town, where Welshmen were dwelling peaceably 
with their Saxon and Norman neighbours under the 
shadow of the church of St. Oswald and the control of 
the Norman castle. Warin the sheriff was dead in 1086, 
but before his death he gave to the Abbey of Shrewsbury 
the church of St. Oswald and the tithes of that town 
(villae). The castle was built by Warin's successor, 
Rainald, and in 1086 the manor was valued annually at 
the then large sum of 405., though in the time of King 
Edward the Confessor it had been waste. The position 


of Oswestry on the Welsh border brought a chequered 
existence to the town, for in the reign of Henry I. it 
was for some time held by the Princes of Powis, one of 
whom in 1148 built, or rather rebuilt, the castle. 

In 1 1 60 William FitzAlan died lord of Oswestry, or 
Blanchminster, as it was often styled in the twelfth cen- 
tury, when apparently its stately church was new, and 
stood a white stone building backed by the timber houses 
of the town. Much money was spent on the castle during 
the latter half of the twelfth century, and its upkeep was 
a heavy charge on its lords, the FitzAlans. In 1175, the 
ordinary garrison there consisted of a knight, two watch- 
men, two porters, and twenty men-at-arms. In 1216, when 
King John, in anger at his barons' defiant attitude, 
ravaged the west of England, he burnt the town of 
Oswestry, but apparently could not take the castle. In 
1228, mention is made of an annual four days' fair at 
Oswestry, and probably by that time the town was rebuilt. 
Some thirty years later John FitzAlan proposed to wall the 
town, and had a grant of tolls for five years, but the 
walls seem to have been unfinished in 1283, for King 
Edward I. in that year gave the bailiffs and burgesses 
permission to levy special duties for twenty years for the 
completion and repair of the town walls. In 1294-5 
Oswestry was taken by the Welsh prince Madoc, but it 
did not remain long in his hands, as on June 24th, 1295, 
King Edward was himself at Oswestry. In 1302, at the 
death of Richard, Earl of Arundel, the castle was said to 
be of no value to his estate because of the great expense 
of its maintenance. 

Unlike Ludlow Castle, that of Oswestry seems to have 
never become anything more than a fortress, nor of 
greater importance than the borough beside it. The 
burgesses were mainly of Welsh extraction, and on the 
cessation of the border wars the town flourished and 
became an important centre of trade. It was annexed by 


Richard II. to the Principality of Chester, but the change 
seems to have been only nominal. 

Leland gives a long account of Oswestry, and tells us 
that there were no towers on the walls except those at 
the gates, and that the town was moated, with running 
water in its ditch. He says the " Towne standith most 
by Sale of Cloth made in Wales." He also calls 
Whittington a town, but describes it as a "village in a 
valley," containing a hundred houses. If this is correct, 
it was a very large village for Shropshire in the sixteenth 

Camden, half a century later, speaks of Oswestry as a 
little town enclosed with a wall and a ditch, and fortified 
with a small castle. " 'Tis a place of good traffic, for 
Welsh Cottons especially, which are of a very fine, thin, 
or (if you will) slight texture ; of which great quantities 
are weekly vended here." The old gazetteer of 1 764, 
England Illustrated, mentions this trade as being then 
quite decayed, and the town as poorly built. 

Oswestry suffered from disastrous fires in 1542 and 
1567. In the latter year two hundred houses are said to 
have been burnt down, which possibly accounts for this 
lack of stately buildings. The opening of the coach 
route from London to Holyhead brought renewed im- 
portance to Oswestry, and in 1810 it is described as a 
" flourishing little town," in whose market many webs of 
cloth made in Denbighshire were sold, which after being 
dyed were used " to supply clothing for the slaves in the 
West Indies and South America." 

CLUN. The Barons of Oswestry were also lords of 
another border town, namely, Clun. The manor of Clun 
was important and valuable in Saxon times, and under 
King Edward the Confessor it was annually worth 25 
to its lord, Edric Sylvaticus. During the troubled years 
following the Norman Conquest, Edric's estates suffered 
severely, and the yearly value of Clun fell to 4. The 


manor was conferred by William the Conqueror on the 
Norman Picot de Say, who enfeoffed three of his knights 
there, but kept the greater part of the land in his own 
hands. The Domesday record tells us that there was 
arable land sufficient for sixty teams, but in 1086 only 
twelve teams were being employed. There were several 
Welshmen among the tenants at that time, four of whom 
together paid a rent of 2s. 4d. There is no mention of 
either church or priest, though there is little doubt that 
the district had a church in Saxon times. Possibly the dedi- 
cation to the warrior saint, St. George, tends to prove that 
Clun Church was founded by a Norman baron. We have 
the first documentary trace of its existence in a deed of the 
latter half of the twelfth century, when Isabella de Say, 
lady of Clun, gave the church and its chapels to Wenlock 
Priory. The chapels then mentioned are : St. Thomas of 
Clun, St. Swithin of Clunbury, St. Mary of Clunton, 
St. Mary of Hopton, St. Mary of Waterdene, and the 
chapels of Edgton and Sibdon. 

The castle of Clun seems to have been built within the 
earthworks of an earlier stronghold. In 1160 it was 
among the possessions of William FitzAlan (I.), who had 
married Isabella, the heiress of the De Says, and from 
that time onwards it is frequently mentioned. In 1 195 
it is said to have been stormed and burnt by the Welsh. 
Isabella's son, William FitzAlan (II), in 1204 received 
the grant from King John of a three days' fair at Clun on 
St. Martin's Day (November nth) and the two days 
following. During the thirteenth century Clun cannot 
have had very peaceful surroundings, but the town was 
important as a centre for markets and fairs. In 1272, 
during the long minority of Richard FitzAlan, a valuation 
was taken at Clun Castle of the manor. The three com- 
missioners and twelve jurors reported that : 

Clun Castle was small, but pretty well built. The roof of the tower 
wanted covering with lead, and the bridge needed repairing. Outside 
the Castle was a Bailey, enclosed with a fosse, and a certain Gate in the 

;' VV i ' 1 , V I ' N .' /// !' UN/ ' / / 




Castle wall thereabouts, had been begun (but not finished). The build- 
ings in the said Bailey, viz., a grange, a stable, and a bakehouse were in 
a weak state. In the town of Clun were 188 burgesses, and 22 burgesses 
had tenements in the assartsl of the manor. Clun Market, held on 
Saturdays, produced 10 per annum.% Two fairs of three days each were 
held at Martinmas (Nov. n) and at the feast of SS. Pancras, Nereus, 
and Achilles (May 12). They realised 6 per annum. 

There were pleas of the Free Court mentioned, and 
pleas and perquisites of the Portmote (i.e., the borough 
court) : 

Robert the Clerk paid the rent for his Smithy in 24 horse shoes or 12*1, 
and certain of the Burgesses were bound to provide 20 men, each to 
accompany the lord of Clun four days yearly on his hunting excursions. 

In 1302 the castle was said to be worth no more than 
the cost of its maintenance. In the town of Clun there 
were eighty-five burgesses who paid a rent to the lord. 
There were two water-mills at Clun, one of which had 
been in existence apparently in 1086, as Domesday 
alludes to a mill there " serving the court " (serviens 
Curiae), but we can only guess what is meant by the 
court. In 1326, Edmund, Earl of Arundel, confirmed to 
his burgesses of Clun all the privileges they had enjoyed 
under his ancestors, and pardoned them for having sworn 
fealty to Roger de Mortimer when he had visited Clun 
Castle. We find no mention of any wish to wall the town 
of Clun, though the borough had its independent life out- 
side the fortifications of the castle. 

Leland makes no mention of a town here, but speaks 
of the castle as having been both strong and well-built, 
but somewhat ruinous in his day. Clun is not on the list 
of the market towns given in 1764, though it must have 
then been a centre of population. There was at one time 
a considerable amount of weaving done here, and the site 
of the fulling mills for cloth is still remembered. It 
finally ceased to be a borough in 1886. 

1 Assarts are clearings in the forest. 

2 Equivalent to about 300 a year in modern currency. 


RUYTON. The Earls of Arundel had another borough 
in Shropshire in Ruyton-XI.-Towns, where in 1311 
Edmund, Earl of Arundel, had a grant from Edward II. 
of a market on Wednesdays, and a yearly fair on the eve, 
the day, and three days after the Nativity of St. John the 
Baptist (June 24th). 

The Earl had a little before this time obtained from 
the Canons of Haughmond seven burgages they had built 
in the " new vill of Rutone," on land given to them by one 
of the le Strange family. He seems to have rebuilt the 
small castle at Ruyton, which is said to have been destroyed 
by the Welsh in 1202, and to have planned the borough as 
an appanage of his castle. He gave the burgesses free- 
dom from tolls throughout his lands ; leave to use the laws 
of Breteuil, and to form a Gild merchant, and the right 
of freedom for anyone who had held land and paid scot 
and lot with the burgesses for a year and a day. The 
borough seems never to have greatly flourished, and 
though its charter was confirmed in 1429, its trade seems 
to have been absorbed by the more important towns of 
Oswestry and Shrewsbury. In 1640 a mace was presented 
by Richard Kinaston, which, with the copy of the charter 
now forms almost the only trace of its dignity as a borough. 

CHURCH STRETTON. In the fourteenth century the 
Earls of Arundel became lords of yet another town 
in Shropshire Church Stretton. This had been an 
important manor in Saxon times, when it belonged to 
Edwin, Earl of Mercia. It suffered during the Norman 
Conquest, and its annual value fell from 13 to 
$. In 1086, the manor of 8 hides had a considerable 
population with a priest, a church, and a mill. The 
Domesday record makes no mention of a castle though the 
earthwork on the Castle Hill at All Stretton, and probably 
some fortification on the hill where Brockhurst Castle 
afterwards stood, defended the Dale in very early times. 
In the twelfth century Stretton was in the hands of the 


king, and possessed a Royal Castle under the care of a 

In 1214 King John ordered the Sheriff of Shropshire 
to advertise a weekly market at Stretton and a yearly fair 
on the feast day of the Assumption (August loth). The 
men of " Strettondale " frequently accounted to the King 
themselves for the dues of the Manor. The Castle of 
Stretton was repaired in 1238, but in less than twenty 
years later it had apparently been dismantled, as the 
Provost and Jurors of the Manor then reported that there 
was no castle, and that the Sheriff of Shropshire had 
ordered four men to let dry the king's fishponds, and had 
sold the fish. In a valuation of Stretton made in 1309, 
there is no mention of any town dues, and the modern 
status of Church Stretton seems to have grown out of 
its convenient situation as a market for the surrounding 
country. The manor, after being held under the king by 
a variety of overlords, was given in 1336 by Edward III. 
to Richard, Earl of Arundel, and remained in that family 
till the reign of Queen Elizabeth. 

In the time of James I., Bonham Norton, Sheriff of 
Shropshire in 1611, was one of the chief men in Church 
Stretton, though his earlier life was connected with 
London, where he was King's Printer to Charles I. In 
1614-5, he obtained from the king the confirmation of a 
grant made in 1337 by Edward III. to the Earl of Arundel 
of a weekly market on Thursdays, and a yearly fair on 
the eve, the day, and the morrow of Holy Cross Day 
(September I4th). Bonham Norton also built a half- 
timbered market house for the town, which unhappily 
was taken down in 1839, greatly to the detriment of the 
picturesqueness of the place. 

Leland calls Church Stretton a " Townlett," the same 
word that he uses for Pontesbury and for Hodnet. 
Camden calls it a little town, and in 1764 it is ranked 
among the market towns, and said to have a good corn 


WHITCHURCH. Whitchurch, like Oswestry and 
Ludlow, appears in the Domesday Book under a 
different name from the one by which we now know 
it. It was then called Weston, and was held under 
Earl Roger by William de Warren, a kinsman of the 
Conqueror. It had been among the possessions of King 
Harold, but seems to have passed to the Norman Earl 
with little or no struggle, as it suffered no loss of 
value in the change, but from 8 annually in Saxon 
times it had risen to 10 under the Norman rule. There 
was a fairly numerous population on the "j\ hides of the 
manor, but nothing that goes to show the existence of a 
town. There is no mention of a fortress, but the manor 
was probably held by King Harold and by William de 
Warren as being important to the defence of the border. 
A younger branch of the Warrens held the manor in 
the twelfth century, and in 1199 the Sheriff of Shropshire 
paid ten merks to the lord of Whitchurch for the " repair 
and emendation of his Castle of Album Monasterium." 
We see from this that a stately church had been built, 
and Weston had become known as White Minster. It is 
not improbable that the great Earl William de Warren 
and Gunnora his wife, who founded the Priory of Lewes 
and that of Castle Acre, had provided a church for their 
Shropshire tenantry. The dedication to St. Alkmund is 
difficult to account for in this case, but local tradition may 
have associated Weston with the Saxon Prince, whose 
death in battle was regarded as a martyrdom. 

In 1240 there is mention of the Castle of Album 
Monasterium, which was held by William, son of William 
de Warren de Albo Monasterio. Thirteen years later, the 
Abbot of Combermere accused William de Albo Monas- 
terio and others of stealing his cattle, and the Abbot's 
men in return were sued by Clemencia, widow of William 
de Albo Monasterio, for the murder of her husband, the 
Seneschal of William de Albo Monasterio, and she also 
accused several of" the monks of Combermere of violent 


conduct ordered by the Abbot. Three men were outlawed 
for the murder, but the abbot and monks were acquitted. 

Some twenty years later the lordship of Whitchurch 
was held by four heiresses. In the valuation of the estates 
of the eldest, it was said to be held under the Earl Warren 
by service of the Lord of Whitchurch doing duty as the 
Earl's Huntsman " at the will and at the charges of the 
said Earl." 

There is at that time no mention of a grant of market 
or fair, but in 1284 the lords of Whitchurch had a Free 
Court twice yearly, a Gallows, a Market, Fair and Warren 
there. These privileges were called in question eight 
years later, when a charter from Richard I. was shown 
granting the Wednesday's market, and the question of the 
annual fair was dropped. 

One of the heiresses of Whitchurch married Robert le 
Strange as her first husband, and her son, Fulk le Strange, 
succeeded to her share of the manor, and bought out the 
other co-parceners. In 1324 he was lord of the whole 
manor, and held it " by service of taking the venison 
throughout Earl Warren's lands in England, at the charges 
of the said Earl." The manor is mentioned as possessing 
four mills, of which the mill of Whitchurch was to pay 
six merks rent to Richard de Leylonde for his life. In 
1362 a fair was granted at Whitchurch to be held on the 
eve, the feast, and the morrow of St. Simon and St. Jude 
(October 28th). The sister of the last Lord Strange of 
Blackmere married Sir Richard Talbot, father of the great 
Earl of Shrewsbury, who was killed at Chatillon, and 
whose bones rest in the Church of Whitchurch. The 
Talbots sold their manor of Blackmere in the latter part 
of the reign of Queen Elizabeth. 

Leland says that " the Toune of Whitchurch in Shrop- 
shire hath a veri good market," and he notes twice over 
that Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, was buried at Whit- 
church. Camden also mentions the fact, and gives his 


epitaph. In 1 764 it is described as a " pleasant large and 
populous town, with a handsome church," and in 1824 
the principal trade was said to be the " making shoes for 
the Manchester market, and malting." 

SHIFNAL. The chief Shropshire property of the 
Talbot family lay on the east side of the county, near 
Shifnal and Albrighton. Shifnal, or rather Idsall, as it was 
generally called in the Middle Ages, was a manor of the 
Saxon Earls of Mercia, and brought Earl Morcar 15 a 
year. It passed to the Norman Earl Roger, but during the 
troubles of the Conquest its value fell to 6s. In 1086 it 
had recovered its original value in the hands of Robert 
FitzTetbald, who held the manor under Earl Roger. On 
the "]\ hides there were 36 teams, and a population of 
26 serfs, 37 villeins, 3 bordars and 3 radmans, which, if 
we calculate as each representing a household of five, 
makes a number of nearly 350, in addition to which there 
would possibly be servants of Robert Fitz-Tetbald on 
his demesne land. The collegiate Saxon Church of 
Idsall was probably ruined in the troubles, and not yet 
restored in 1086, as Domesday makes no mention of either 
church or priest. The manor wood was sufficient for 
fattening three hundred swine, but the manor mill is not 
mentioned. The De Dunstanvills were lords of Shifnal in 
the twelfth century, and the first Walter de Dunstanvill 
about 1175 gave the Mill of Idsall to Wombridge Priory, 
saving the right of free grinding for his own house, and for 
others who had a similar right. The third Walter de 
Dunstanvill in 1244 had a grant of a market and fair at 
Idsall. This right to a fair and market was called in 
question some fifty years later, and in 1315 a second 
charter was given, allowing a market on Mondays and 
Fridays, and two fairs, one on the eve, the day, and the 
morrow of the feast of the Holy Trinity, and the other 
on the eve, the day, and the morrow of Michaelmas. In 
1470 this grant of a market and two fairs was renewed to 


John, Earl of Shrewsbury. The Earls of Shrewsbury 
remained lords of the manor till 1 606. 

Leland makes no mention of a town of Shifnal, but 
says that the Earls had here a " Manor Place of Tymber 
and a Parke," where George, Earl of Shrewsbury, was 
born, and where James Talbot died from wounds received 
in the battle of Northampton. 

The Lay Subsidy Roll of 1327 shows a large popula- 
tion in Shifnal and its hamlets. Four of the inhabitants 
are called " le Tournour," and probably represent the 
makers of wooden cups and platters, an important 
industry in the days when metal was costly and fine 
pottery rare. 

In 1592, Shifnal, like Newport and Oswestry, suffered 
from a fire, which nearly destroyed the town, and did great 
damage to the church. 

The heyday of the prosperity of Shifnal was during 
the coaching days, when it was the junction on the 
Holyhead road for Madeley, Bridgnorth, Newport, and 
their neighbourhood. When the railway came this was 
changed. Its markets failed, with Wolverhampton on one 
side and Wellington on the other, and its trade followed to 
a great extent. 

ALBRIGHTON. The later Earls of Shrewsbury had 
an interest also in the borough of Albrighton, near 
Wolverhampton, which has now ceased to carry the 
status of a town. This was a small manor, before 
the Conquest held by two Saxons, which was waste 
when it came to Norman Venator, who held it under 
Earl Roger. In 1086 it was valued at i6s. annually. 
Norman Venator's heirs seem to have been the family 
of De Pitchford, who held Albrighton till 1303, when 
Ralph de Pitchford sold the manor to Sir John Tregoz, 
of Ewyas Harold, in Herefordshire. Ralph de Pitch- 
ford claimed the right of holding a market and fair 
by a charter of Henry III. to his grandfather. In 1313, 


John de la Warre, the heir by marriage of John Tregoz, 
claimed a market on Tuesdays, and a four days' fair, but 
the king's charter in answer to his claim limited the fair 
to three days: the eve, the day, and the morrow of the 
Translation of St. Thomas the Martyr (July ;th). At 
the close of the fifteenth century Albrighton was in the 
hands of the Talbots. In 1663 the manor was confirmed 
to them, and Lady Mary Talbot gave a mace to the 
borough, which received a royal charter from Charles II. 
Albrighton Fair seems to have been of note, for the 
Chelmarsh register has the entry : 

July 7th, 1597. S r William Wood, Clerke, Vicar of Chelmarsh, buried, 
being Abryton Fayre daye. 

Leland speaks of Albrighton Park, where Sir John 
Talbot had a house on the way from Shrewsbury to Lon- 
don, "toward Hampton Village," at Pepperhill. 

In 1824 there were four fairs held, at which a good 
deal of business was said to be done. The Market House 
was still in existence at the beginning of the nineteenth 
century. It is described by the Rev. J. B. Blakeway 1 as 
standing in the centre of the town, and having two arches, 
with an upper room in which the business of the Corpora- 
tion was usually transacted, and under the arches below 
was the town prison, called the " Crib," and a pair of 
stocks. The Court of the Manor, and other public assem- 
blies were held in the " Toll Shop," which stood in the 
centre of the street facing the market house. It was a 
spacious building with a belfry at one end. In the large 
room under the Toll Shop the body of the Duchess of 
Shrewsbury lay in state in 1726. The tolls of the fairs 
in the latter part of the eighteenth century were given to 
a Mr. John Broomhall to pay for the education at his 
school of six boys belonging to the borough. 

1 "History of Albrighton." Shropshire Archaeological Society's Tram- 
actions, 2nd series, vol. xi., p. 34. 


NEWPORT. Newport, also on the Staffordshire border, 
is a borough of royal foundation, dating from the reign 
of King Henry I, who founded it on his great manor of 
Edgmond as a centre for trade. It had its Franchises 
and Customs in his reign, and possessed a priest and a 
church, confirmed before 1 148 as a possession of the 
Abbey of Shrewsbury. Henry II., about 1165, gave a 
Charter to Newborough (Novo Burgo), confirming the 
liberties they had enjoyed under his grandfather. The 
name of Newborough is always used till the beginning 
of the thirteenth century, Newport first appearing in 1221, 
and then for some years both names are used indifferently, 
though Novus Burgus is the favourite form. 

The Burgesses of Newborough held their town by the 
service of conveying to the King's Court, wherever it 
might be, the fish taken in the great fishpond (Vivary) of 
the town, and the Keeper of the King's Vivary was one 
of the most important men in the place. In 1227 King 
Henry III. granted the manor of Edgmond and the town 
of Newport to Henry de Audley and his heirs, and the 
custom of taking the fish was continued as a service due 
to the Audleys. About 1250, James, son of Henry de 
Audley, on the payment of $ by the burgesses, allowed 
that the obligation of the burgesses should only be to 
take the fish within the boundaries of Shropshire. In 1282 
there is mention of a market at Newport, and of the 
Vivary and Mill. Five years later Edward I. confirmed 
the charter of Henry 11^ and the claim of the burgesses 
to have a Merchant Gild seems to have been allowed. 

In 1317 Nicholas de Audley (II.) is mentioned as 
having received 6os. for the tolls of the market and fairs, 
but the fair days are not given. 

Edward II., in January, 1321-2, granted a charter to 
Newport : " for the love I bear to Robert Levere, burgess 
of the said borough and our host there," and a manuscript 
record says that in the fifteenth year of his reign the king 
" lay at the Antelope in Newport, one Robert Levere, a 


merry host, being master of the inn, who so pleased his 
majestic in his entertainment, that for the sake of this 
jolly landlord, the town had their charter renewed from 

Newport, like other Shropshire towns, suffered severely 
from fire, and in May, 1665, the greater part of the town 
was burnt down, including 160 houses and the Market 
House, built in 1632 by William Barneneld " to sell butter 
and cheese in." 

Leland places Newport among the market towns of 
Shropshire, and says that within a mile of the town was 
a "goodly Mere or Poole." In 1764 there is no mention 
of the pool, but the town is said to be " a good town, with 
a free grammar school, and also a free school for the poor 
children of the town." Newport, like Clun, ceased to be 
a borough in 1886. 

CLEOBURY MORTIMER, Mediaeval barons were fully 
awake to the desirability of encouraging trade as it was 
then understood. Following the example of the king, 
they gave privileges to such gilds as might exist in 
the towns with which they were connected, and they 
encouraged the formation of trading centres on their 
estates. The great family of Mortimer possessed in 
Shropshire the town of Cleobury, which took its distin- 
guishing name from them. The Domesday Book speaks 
of it as a large and important manor with a considerable 
population, including a priest. The land was tilled by 
twenty-four teams, the full number required, and there 
was a mill, and a wood capable of fattening five hundred 
swine. The manor belonged before the Conquest to 
Edith, the Queen of Edward the Confessor, and though 
she was dispossessed in favour of a Norman, William 
FitzOsborn, who in turn made way before 1086 to Ralph 
de Mortimer, the manor had increased in annual value 
from 8 to 12. There is nothing in this record that 
implies the existence of a town, nor of the castle, which 


was garrisoned against Henry II. about 1 1 54, and was 
taken and destroyed by that king, but rebuilt some years 
later. Cleobury received the grant of a yearly fair in 
1226. The days first fixed were the eve, the day, and the 
morrow of Holy Cross Day (September I4th), but for some 
reason these were changed to the eve, day, and morrow of 
the beheading of St. John the Baptist (August 2Qth), but 
in 1227 the first date was reverted to. The Mortimers 
made Cleobury the head of their Shropshire estates, and 
in 1266 Roger de Mortimer constituted his twenty Shrop- 
shire manors members of a Franchise of Cleobury, respon- 
sible to himself and not to the king. The place where he 
held his courts is marked by the remains of an ancient 
cross. 1 The third Roger de Mortimer became, in right 
of his wife, lord of Ludlow Castle, and obtained a grant 
of a fair at Ludlow on St Katherine's Day (November 
25th) and four days after, but he seems to have done little 
or nothing to aggrandise Cleobury. 

In the reign of Queen Elizabeth (1581) mention is 
made of the borough and the burgesses of Cleobury, when 
it was enacted that each new burgess should pay a fine 
of 2s. to the lord of the manor (then Robert Dudley), and 
the new burgesses should give the other burgesses a 
dinner. From Sir Robert Dudley the manor passed in 
1608 to the Lacon family. Ten years later Sir Francis 
Lacon obtained the grant of a Wednesday market in 
Cleobury Borough and three fairs a year. Leland speaks, 
however, of Cleobury as " Mortimer's Clebyri in Shrop- 
shire, a Village and a Parke," and mentions that it had 
once possessed a castle, but says " there be no Market 
Townes in Cle Hills." Camden speaks of the castle as 
having been demolished by Henry II., and only small 
traces left. In 1764 Cleobury is given as a market town, 
with the remark : " it has now nothing worthy of note ; " 

1 Mrs. Baldwyn-Childe, "Cleobury Mortimer." Shropshire Archaological 
Society's Transactions, ist series, vol. ii., p. 42. 



but England Displayed, in 1769, says it is remarkable for 
a Wednesday market, and two fairs on May 2nd and 
October 2/th, for "black cattle, sheep and pigs." 

WEM. Wem was in 1086 the head of the Barony of 
William Pantulf, of whom we read in the pages of Orderi- 
cus Vitalis, the Chronicler. It was a manor of four hides, 
and had been held in Saxon times as four manors, but was 
waste when it came into William's hands. The value had 
been 275. yearly in the reign of King Edward, and in 
1086 it had more than recovered its former prosperity, as 
it was worth 403. There is nothing to suggest a town in 
the Domesday record. There were only two teams on 
land estimated to employ eight, and the existence of a 
hawk's-aerie and a wood capable of fattening a hundred 
swine, with an enclosed portion (a Haye) for game shows 
wild surroundings. William Pantulf took the King's side 
during the rebellion of Earl Robert de Belesme, and was 
made governor of Stafford Castle. He was succeeded in 
his English estates by Robert, the second of his four 

The Pantulf s continued lords of Wem till 1233, but 
the manor of Wem was only one among many that they 
possessed in Shropshire, Staffordshire, and elsewhere. 
The heiress of -the Pantulfs married Ralph le Botyler. 
In 1281, on the death of Ralph, the manor of Wem 
possessed a fortalice, two gardens and two parks, two 
watermills, and one windmill. The tenants in villeinage 
were bound to execute all castle works at the will of their 
lord. One item of revenue was the toll paid by traders 
and travellers who passed through the manor, and included 
potura satellitum apparently drink for the baron's men. 
Ralph's widow, Matilda Pantulf, married a second hus- 
band, Walter de Hopton, and in 1286 he had at Wem, 
by charter of Henry III., a market and a fair. 1 Four 

1 One authority says by gift of King John, 1205. 


years later Wem Castle was reported as in ruins, the 
market to be held on Sundays (which was changed .to 
Thursdays later), and the fair on the eve, the day, and 
the morrow of St. Peter and St. Paul (June 29th). From 
the Botylers the manor passed by heiresses to the Barons 
Greystock, the Lords Dacre, and the Earls of Arundel. 
Thomas, Earl of Arundel in 1636, obtained a charter for 
a fair on St. Mark's Day (April 25th) at his borough of 
Wem, to last one day. The town is first called a borough 
in the sixteenth century, when it was governed by two 
bailiffs. Leland makes no mention of it in his Itinerary, 
and apparently went from Shrewsbury to Whitchurch by 
Prees. In speaking of his ride from Haughmond to 
Moreton Corbet, where he saw " a fair Castel of Mr. 
Corbetts," and so to Prees, he crossed, apparently at Lee 
Bridge, " Roden Riveret, rising not far above Wem village, 
a mile from that place." Camden also speaks of Wem as 
on the Roden, with the " site of an intended castle." The 
Gazetteer of 1764 mentions the Grammar School, founded 
in 1645, as the most noteworthy feature of the place. In 
1677 a great part of the town was burnt down ; 140 houses, 
the church, and the market house were ruined, but the 
school buildings escaped. 

ELLESMERE. Ellesmere was originally a manor of 
the Saxon Earls of Mercia, and after the Conquest 
was held in demesne by Earl Roger de Montgomery. It 
was valued annually at 10 in Saxon times, but 
yielded 20 to Earl Roger, a very large increase in 
value. In 1086 it had a large population for that 
time, including two priests. After the rebellion of 
Robert de Belesme, Earl of Shrewsbury, Ellesmere passed 
into the hands of King Henry I., who granted the 
manor to William Peverel of Dover, but it was again in 
the king's hands in 1177, when Henry II. gave the land 
of Ellesmere to his half-sister Emma, wife of David ap 
Owen, Prince of North Wales. In 1203 mention is made 


of repairs to Ellesmere Castle, then held by King John, 
who two years later gave it to Llewellyn ap Jorwerth, 
Prince of North Wales, in marriage with his daughter 
Joan, who, under the title of Lady of Wales, granted it 
to be a free borough with all the free customs belonging 
to the law of Breteuil. 1 In 1221 Llewellyn received a 
grant from Henry III. of a weekly market at Ellesmere 
on Tuesdays till the king should be of age. 

In the latter half of the thirteenth century Ellesmere 
Castle was in the care of the Sheriff of Shropshire. In 
1242 money was spent on the castle works, and again, 
fifteen years later, when the " King's House in Ellesmere 
Castle " was also repaired, possibly with the view of a 
visit from Prince Edward. In the next year Peter de 
Montfort was in charge of Ellesmere! and was empowered 
to levy customs for five years for the expense of walling 
the town. When Edward I. was firmly seated on his 
throne, he gave the manor for life to Roger le Strange of 
Knockin, whose brother Hamo had held it under the king 
in the latter part of the reign of Henry III. 

In 1280, a careful survey was made of the manor. 
There is a mention of the Borough Court, and rents of 
tenants in burgage. The tenants of Horton paid 2s. 
rent, and were bound to victual the men-at-arms in the 
castle, and William Smith, of Birch, held half a virgate 
there (apparently about 40 acres) by the service of doing 
the shoeing and ironwork of teams and mills in the manor, 
and, in war-time, of abiding in the castle and forging all 
necessary implements. Roger le Strange died in 1311, 
and the king took possession of Ellesmere, but in 1330 
Edward III. granted it again to the Stranges, with whom 
it remained till inherited from the Barons of Knockin by 
the Stanleys, Earls of Derby. The Kynaston family were 
of note in early days in the neighbourhood of Ellesmere, 
and in 1598 Sir Edward Kynaston, Knight, had a licence 

IThe law of Breteuil seems to have been that of a town of mixed 


from Queen Elizabeth to hold a market on Tuesdays and 
a fair at Ellesmere. Leland, who visited the town some 
sixty years earlier, says of it : 

From Ellesmere, wher was a Castelle, and very faire Polls yet be. 
Ellesmere hath a 4 Streates of meately good Building, privileged with 
ij Faires, but no cummun Market now. 

Camden mentions the manor, but gives no hint of a 
town there, and it is not on the list of market towns of 
Salop in 1764, though in 1810 it was said to have a good 
market, the principal articles of which were apples, flax, 
and stockings. 

WELLINGTON. Wellington was also in Saxon times 
an important manor of the Earls of Mercia, and yielded 
them 20 a year. After the Conquest it was kept by 
Roger de Montgomery in his own hands, and was valued 
at 18 yearly. It was of great size fourteen hides, with 
five hamlets, and land sufficient for twenty-four teams, a 
valuable mill, and two fisheries. The population was not 
large for the great acreage, but included a priest. 

Wellington, like Ellesmere, became a Royal manor 
after the rebellion of Robert de Belesme, and its revenues 
were accounted for to the king by the sheriff of Shrop- 
shire. As the years went on, the manor was shorn of 
some of its outlying portions, but it was still of large 
extent when King John gave it to William de Erdington. 
In 1244 Giles de Erdington had a grant of a fair and a 
market at Wellington. Some forty years later this grant 
was renewed to Sir Hugh Burnell, then lord of the manor, 
the day for the market being Thursday, and two fairs 
being allowed, one on the eve, the day, and the morrow 
of St. Barnabas (June nth), and the other on the eve, the 
day, and the morrow of the beheading of St. John Baptist 
(August 2gth). At the close of the twelfth century 
Arleston, one of its hamlets, had been nearly twice as 
large as Wellington itself, 1 but during the thirteenth 

1 Arleston had twenty-four hearths and Wellington fourteen. 


century Wellington seems to have increased. There is no 
mention of a town here in mediaeval times, and the 
importance of the manor consisted to a great extent in 
its woodland. 

Leland places Wellington among the market towns 
of the county, and describes it as " toward London way " 
from Shrewsbury. The Gazetteer of 1764 speaks of it as 
a market town, but containing nothing of note, though 
there are drawings extant of a fine half-timbered market 
house of seventeenth century date. In 1824 it is described 
as lying in the centre of iron and coal works, with a well- 
supplied and much-frequented market, but no mention is 
made of the nail making which was at one time carried 
on there. 

Wombridge was an early centre of coal mining of 
which Leland says : " Coles be diggid hard by Ombridge, 
where the Priory was," but in his day iron was smelted 
with wood fuel, and he says : " yerne is made in certen 
places of Shropshire, and especially yn the Woodes 
betwixt Belvoys and Wenloke." In speaking of the Clee 
Hills he mentions : " There be some Bio Shoppes to make 
yren upon the Bankes of Milbroke," but the iron foundries 
of the Shropshire black country date from long after his 

The coal of their manor was a source of income to the 
Austin Canons of Wombridge before the Dissolution of 
the Priory in 1535, but it was not used for iron smelting 
till many years after their day. Tong Forge was cele- 
brated for its iron in the early seventeenth century, and 
the " Iron Mills " in Condover parish were at work in 
1608, smelting iron with wood fuel. 

WENLOCK. The borough of Wenlock grew up under 
the shadow of the Cluniac priory there, and its burgesses 
were the prior's men, just as those of the Abbey Foregate 
at Shrewsbury were the men of the Abbot, having a 
distinct corporate life from that of Shrewsbury itself. 


The Domesday mention of the great manor of 
St. Milburg's Abbey, then recently re-founded by Earl 
Roger de Montgomery, makes no mention of any town 
at Wenlock, and the growth of the borough seems to have 
been gradual. In the thirteenth century, in 1248, 
Henry III. granted to the Prior of Wenlock a confirmation 
of a fair held on the eve, the day, and the morrow of 
St. John the Baptist (June 24th), and in 1224 he had 
ordered that the market formerly held at Wenlock on 
Sundays should be held in the future on Mondays. In 
1227 the Prior gave the King twenty merks to have the 
three charters of King Richard confirmed to him, and to 
have a grant of one fair and two markets. This fair was 
the one on St. John Baptist's Day confirmed twenty years 
later, and the markets were the one on Mondays at Wen- 
lock, and one at Eaton-under-Heywood on Thursdays. 
Henry III. visited Wenlock several times, and wine for 
his use was sent there from Brug (Bridgnorth). Under 
Edward I. the Prior's right to the fair and markets was 
called in question and also his right to hold a market and 
a fair at Ditton Priors. The Prior proved his claim to 
the former, but said nothing about Ditton. 1 

In 1247 the burgesses of Wenlock complained of the 
arbitrary treatment of Prior Imbert, and an enquiry was 
made. The burgesses then apparently consisted of eight 
freemen, who held by old enfeoffment, paying varying 
rents to the Prior, and thirty-nine burgesses who paid each 
is. per annum, for their burgages. Some of these had 
tenants of their own, who were not responsible to the 
Prior, but on whose goods the Prior had laid a claim. He 
had also exacted a toll on beer, over and above the 
ordinary custom. In 1379 there is mention of the weekly 
market and yearly fair, and of the profits of six water- 
mills at Wenlock. 

In 1467 Sir John Wenlock, Knight, lord of Wenlock, 

1 There are fairs at Ditton Priors held four times a year at the present 


who was killed at the battle of Tewkesbury in 1471, 
obtained from King Edward IV. the grant that Wenlock 
should be a free borough, incorporated with a bailiff and 
burgesses, and that its liberties should extend throughout 
the parish of the Holy Trinity of Wenlock. This was 
confirmed in 1546-7 by Henry VIII., and again by 
Charles I. in 1631. The Priory of Wenlock, in 1395, 
ceased to be dependent on its parent abbey of La Charite 
sur Loire, but its prosperity seems to have then begun to 
decline, and Sir John Wenlock was apparently as impor- 
tant a man in Wenlock as the Prior, Roger Wenlock, 

Leland notes that Wenlock was a market town " where 
was an Abbey." He must have been there within a very 
few years of the Dissolution, but makes no further note 
than that it had been a house of Black Monks. 

Camden speaks of Wenlock as famous for limestone, 
and in the time of King Richard II. for a copper mine. 
The Gazetteer of 1764 says it was famous for limestone 
and tobacco-pipe clay, possibly confusing it with Brose- 
ley, which lies within its liberties. In 1769 the weekly 
market was said to be on Mondays, and the four fairs on 
May 1 2th, July 5th, October I7th, and December 4th. 

MARKET DRAYTON. Market Drayton also owned an 
ecclesiastical overlordship. In 1 086 it was a manor of 
two hides held by William Pantulf, already mentioned in 
connection with Wem. It had only a small population 
of two neat-herds, two bordars, and a priest, and there 
were only two teams on land sufficient for eight. The 
value in Saxon times had been 2Os. annually, but 
had fallen to ios. William Pantulf gave Drayton to 
the Abbey he had founded at Noron as a cell of the 
great Norman Abbey of St. Evroul. The English estates 
of St. Evroul were managed by the Prior of Ware in 
Hertfordshire, another daughter house of the Norman 
Abbey, but not long after the foundation about 1133, 


of the Cistercian Abbey of Combermere, just over 
the Shropshire border, Drayton was leased to the monks 
there, and they retained property here till the Dissolution. 
Under their care the place throve and became a town. 
In 1245 Simon, Abbot of Combermere l received the grant 
of a market on Tuesdays, and a fair on the eve, the day, 
and the morrow of the Nativity of the Virgin (Septem- 
ber 8th), in his manor of Drayton, 1 and other privileges 
of a borough. 

In the time of Leland, Drayton was a market town, 
but he says nothing more than that it was upon Tern 
River, and Camden says the same in mentioning the 
battle of Blore Heath. In 1764 it was only distinguished 
for its market, but in 1810 the canal wharf at Stone, in 
Staffordshire, had drawn much of its trade away, and a 
small manufactory of haircloth for furniture was its chief 

BISHOP'S CASTLE. The town of Bishop's Castle was 
also of ecclesiastical origin, and grew up under the 
protection of the fortress built in the early twelfth 
century by the Bishop of Hereford for the defence 
of his great manor of Lydbury North. It was at 
first known as Lydbury Castle, but in the thirteenth 
century apparently the growth of population round it 
caused it to be distinguished from the parent village 
of Lydbury, and called Bishop's Castle, or in its 
immediate neighbourhood, simply " the Castle." The 
episcopal estate covered more than 18,000 acres, and was 
reckoned in 1086 as 53 hides, of which 32^ were waste. 
In the time of King Edward the Confessor the great 
manor was valued at 35 annually; later its value fell 
to 10, and in 1086 was still only 12. Possibly the 
damage done to their manor during the troubles of the 

1 Edward II. granted to his favourite, Bartholomew de Badlesmere, 
a Thursday market at Adderley and a three days' fair there at St. Peter's 


Conquest awoke the bishops to the necessity of building- 
a castle on its border. In 1223 the castle was ordered 
to be in readiness to be held against the king's enemies, 
and three years later the king was himself at Lydbury 
on his way from Leominster to Shrewsbury. In 1249 
the Bishop had the grant of an annual fair and 
weekly market in his manor of Lydbury North, and in 
1292 it is mentioned that these were held at Bishop's 
Castle on Fridays, and on the eve, the day, and the morrow 
of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist (August 2Qth). 
In 1263, during the Barons' War, Bishop's Castle was 
stormed by John FitzAlan, Lord of Arundel, who held 
it for sixteen weeks, and did great damage to its surround- 
ings,, for which the Bishops received no recompense. In 
1290 Bishop Swinfield spent four days at his castle here, 
but as a general rule the fortress was left to the care of a 
constable. Among the duties of the burgesses mentioned 
in 1291 was the providing of a man three times a year, 
if the bishop wished, to drive the deer for hunting. In 
1360 John At Wood was constable of the castle, and was 
called upon to find forty men out of Bishop's Castle for 
the wars in France. He received a salary of 10 a year, 
and a robe such as esquires of a lord wore, or 2OS. in lieu 
of it ; a payment of 6d. a day for the keep of two horses ; 
2d. a day to keep a porter ; and 4d. for every brewing of 
ale made to be sold there. In 1 394, a grant of Richard II. 
gave the borough a market on Wednesdays, and a fair on 
November 2nd 1 and the two following days. Queen 
Elizabeth, in 1572, gave the town a charter of incorpora- 
tion, and its liberties were confirmed by James I. in 1609. 
Leland calls the town " Bishopes Town, wher is Wekely 
a very good market," and in another place he speaks of 
the " very celebrate Market " there. Camden also speaks 
f the town as " well-frequented " ; and in 1 764, the market 
is said to be " famous for cattle and other commodities, and 

1 November 3rd is St. Hubert's Day, the patron saint of hunting, and 
is also the day of St. Winifred. 


much frequented by the Welsh." The charter of Bishop's 
Castle was renewed in modern days, and the town is one 
of the six corporate boroughs of the county. 

MODERN CENTRES. In addition to these boroughs 
and the old market towns, Shropshire possesses several 
centres of population that date from modern times. 
Broseley and Coalport have been called into existence 
by earthenware and china made from the fine local clay, 
and have been prosperous places since the close of the 
eighteenth century. Iron and coal have brought 
inhabitants to Madeley, Coalbrookdale, Ironbridge, 
Dawley, Oakengates, and their surroundings. Shropshire 
was the first county in which iron rails were made. 1 
They were used in 1767 by the Coalbrookdale Company, 
and soon superseded the wooden rails which had till that 
time been in use. The iron bridge that has given its 
name to what was originally a hamlet of Madeley was 
built in 1779. 

The most recent of the Shropshire market towns is 
Craven Arms, where in the parishes of Halford and 
Stokesay the railway junction has brought a considerable 
population, and the name of a coaching inn has become 
that of a considerable centre of business, with a Friday 
market and several important cattle fairs. 

Madeley, which now has a larger population than the 
borough of Wenlock, was from Saxon times among the 
possessions of the monks of Wenlock, and was frequently 
known as Madeley Priors. In 1269 the Prior had licence 
from Henry III. to hold a weekly market on Tuesdays, and 
a yearly fair on the eve, the day, and the morrow of 
St. Matthew (September 2ist), in his manor of Madeley. 
Coalbrookdale was in the parish of Madeley, as were Iron- 
bridge and Coalport, all places to which prosperity came 
in the eighteenth century. Broseley was an ancient parish 

1 Dukes' Antiquities of Shropshire, p. 83. 


within the Liberties of Wenlock, and its church was a 
chapelry of Wenlock Church. In 1379 the Prior of 
Wenlock was lord of a third of the manor, and had the 
right to each third presentation to the church. The 
manufacture of Broseley clay pipes goes back to the 
seventeenth century, soon after the introduction of tobacco. 
There was a manufacture of pottery in this neighbourhood 
in Roman times, but the clays seem to have been little 
used, if at all, during the Middle Ages. 

Dawley was originally a member of Roger de Mont- 
gomery's great manor of Wellington, and in the Middle 
Ages was only a small village, with a fortified manor-house 
built in 1316, and a church belonging to the mother church 
of Shifnal. Camden mentions Dawley Castle as having 
been annexed by Richard II. to the Principality of Chester, 
and he goes on to remark : " Not far from the foot of this 
hill, in the depth of the valley, by the Roman military high- 
way, is Okenyate, a small village of some note for the 
pit-coal." The difficulty of carriage kept the coal pits 
from being of great importance, except those within easy 
distance of the Severn, but at the beginning of the nine- 
teenth century the formation of canals brought increased 
prosperity to the Shropshire Black Country, to which the 
construction of railways some years later added. 

Madeley had possessed a market house in the seven- 
teenth century, which the Beauties of England, of 1811, 
says had been destroyed " somewhat more than a century 
ago," but replaced in 1 763 by a new house some two miles 
from the site of the first, where the market was kept near 
the foot of the "famous iron bridge." In 1810 Madeley 
had some five thousand inhabitants, and " a work for 
obtaining fossil tar or petroleum, from the condensed 
smoke of pit coal," which had been started some twenty 
years before by the Earl of Dundonald. 

ANCIENT MARKETS. In addition to the places which 
have grown up into towns, Shropshire has several villages 

that have had the right of fairs or markets since at least 
the thirteenth century. Bishop Burnell, in 1269, had the 
grant from Henry III. of a market on Tuesdays at Acton 
Burnell, and two yearly fairs on the eve, the day, and 
the morrow of the Annunciation (March 25th) and of 
Michaelmas (September 29th). He planned that Acton 
Burnell should become a town under the protection of 
his manor-house, but this was never carried out. His 
nephew, Philip Burnell, some twenty-five years later, had 
charters for fairs and markets on his estates at Rushbury, 
Wootton (near Stanton Lacy), and Longden, but little 
advantage seems to have been taken of the privilege. 

Under Henry III. Chirbury ranked as a royal borough, 
but it was always overshadowed by Montgomery, its near 
neighbour. Burford also was a free borough by a grant 
of Henry III. to Hugh de Mortimer. The burgesses held 
by the law of Breteuil and paid to Hugh and his heirs 
one shilling for each burgage. 

Henry III. granted fairs or markets to several others 
of the chief Shropshire landowners. Philip Marmion had 
a Monday market at Pulverbach, and a fair on the eve, 
the day, and the morrow of St. Edith (September i6th), 
and though the market has long ceased, the fair remains. 
Thomas Corbet had a Wednesday market at Worthen, and 
two three days' fairs at St. Peter's Day (June 2Qth) and 
Holy Cross Day (September I4th). He had also a Friday 
market at Shelve, and a three days' fair there at the 
Invention of the Cross (May 3rd). His father Robert, as 
early as 1200, had the grant of a Wednesday market at 
Caus, and Thomas, nearly fifty years later, had a three 
days' fair at the Translation of St. Thomas the Martyr 
(July 7th). Henry de Pembruge, lord of Tong, had a 
weekly market on Thursdays, and a three days' fair at 
the feast of St. Bartholomew (August 24th). The lords 
of Wattlesburgh had a licence in 1272 for a Wednesday 
market there, and a three days' fair at St. James' Day 
(July 25th). The lord of Hodnet always an important 


manor had the right of holding a market by charter of 
Henry III., but had no fair. The Abbot of Haughmond 
also had a grant later, from Edward II., of a Thursday 
market at Leebotwood, but no fair. The barons of Castle 
Holgate had a grant of a market from Henry III., and of 
market and fair from Edward I. The fair was to be on 
the eve, day, and morrow of the feast of Holy Trinity. 
Fulk FitzWarin, lord of Alberbury, had a charter from the 
latter king for a Friday market and two fairs, each of 
three days, one at the feast of St. Cyriac and St. Julitta 
(July 1 6th), and the other at Michaelmas. The lord of 
Burford had a Saturday market and a three days' fair at 
Lady Day ; the lord of Cheswardine a Monday market and 
a three days' fair at St. Swithin (July 1 5th) ; of High 
Ercall a Monday market and a three days' fair at the 
Nativity of the Virgin (September 8th) ; of Chetwynd a 
Tuesday market and a three days' fair (granted in 1318) 
at All Souls' Day (November 2nd). 

Possibly the proximity to Newport and its inns made 
this latter more attractive than it would otherwise have 
been. Stottesdon had a three days' fair at the Assump- 
tion and a Tuesday market, and Aston Botterel a Tuesday 
market and a fair at Michaelmas. Knockin had also a 
Tuesday market and a fair at St. John Baptist's Day. 

Among the privileges of Battlefield College was a fair 
on St. Mary Magdalene's Day (July 22nd), which was an 
important event in the neighbourhood. Provision was 
made for it by building booths, and the " cryer of the fair " 
was a man of importance for the time being. 

In addition to these markets and fairs which are 
known by documentary evidence to have once existed, 
there are several traditional sites in various parts of 
the county where markets are said to have been held 
in times of plague. 1 One of these is Croeswylan, near 
Oswestry, where the tradition may be founded on a 

1 Cough's History of Middle ', p. 177. 


memory of a terrible plague year in Oswestry in 1559. A 
similar tradition is associated with Benthall Stone, which 
stands at some cross roads on the way from Shrewsbury 
to Alberbury, about 3 miles from the latter village ; and 
also with the Butter Cross at Alveley, a wayside cross of 
mediaeval date, which stands at cross lanes, not very far 
from the ferry over the Severn at Hampton Lode. Ben- 
thall Cross (as it is often called) may possibly have been 
the scene of one of the fairs granted to Alberbury, as it 
stands on what was once the way down to the ferry that 
put the FitzAlan Castle of Shrawardine in touch with the 
country about Pontesbury and Westbury. Both Benthall 
and the Butter Cross are too far from a town to make the 
legend of a plague market very probable, but may they 
not possibly both mark the site of some unchartered fair, 
only kept up clandestinely in the days when a charter 
became a necessity? 

Cressage, though not apparently having any charter 
of market, had a market cross, which Mr. Blakeway, the 
historian of Shrewsbury, who died in 1826, mentions as 
standing within his memory. It was apparently a covered 
building, and was removed as having become a centre of 
unruly behaviour in the village. 

It is now difficult always to see the reason why some 
of the centres for markets and fairs became towns, while 
others made no use of their opportunities for trade. One 
fact is noticeable which may throw a little light on the 
evolution of the Shropshire towns, and that is that every 
ancient town except Shrewsbury, Bridgnorth, Wenlock, 
and Church Stretton, is on the borders of the county. 
Shrewsbury and Bridgnorth are on the only natural water- 
way, and Stretton on the natural highway between the 
north and south divisions of the county. There is a trace 
of a line of demarcation crossing Shropshire shown by 
customs and folklore, and to some extent by dialect, but 
this is of too remote a date to affect the life of the towns. 
It is impossible within the limits of this chapter to enter 


into the details of the individual life of each borough, 
with the internal jealousies of the High and Low Town 
of Bridgnorth, or of Frankwell and Shrewsbury, or the 
rivalry of the two parts of Ludlow in their Shrove 
Tuesday rope-pulling, but enough has been written to 
show the variety of history and of interest that is bound 
up in the beginnings of the market towns of Salop. 




JN endeavouring to trace some of the chief religious 
movements which have influenced the people of 
Salop at different periods, and left their mark on it 
as a county, it is necessary to go back to an early 
period of its history. The first question that suggests 
itself is whence did this part of England derive its Chris- 
tianity ? We know that there was a British Church which 
had its full ecclesiastical organisation in the fourth 
century ; and as one of its representatives at the Council 
of Aries, in 314, was Bishop of Caerleon, in Monmouth- 
shire, south of this county, and as there was a large Celtic 
Monastery or College at a later period at Bangor Iscoed, 
just over the Shropshire border northwards, there is a 
strong probability that the country which lay between 
contained at least some adherents to the Christian faith. 
Possibly when the ruins of Uriconium are completely 
explored, traces of Christian worship will be found there, 
as has been the case of Silchester. Whether, however, 
Christianity prevailed in what is now Shropshire under the 



Roman rule, or not, it was swept away by the Saxon inva- 
sion, and its remnants driven westward into the mountain 
fastnesses of Wales. The worship of Woden took the 
place of the worship of Christ, and the work of conver- 
sion had to be begun over again. This work was under- 
taken from two different points of the compass. The old 
British Church was too paralysed by its misfortunes, and 
smarted too much from the wounds which the Saxons had 
inflicted, to take any real part in their conversion, but the 
work was vigorously undertaken by Celtic missionaries 
from the north, whose head-quarters were at lona, and 
afterwards at Lindisfarne, and by Latin missionaries from 
the south, who derived their credentials from Rome. 

The two streams of influence met in the west midlands, 
and it was possibly within the boundaries of the county 
that Augustine held the conference with the representatives 
of the British Church, at which he gave such dire offence 
by his arrogant manner. It is almost certain, however, 
that the county in Saxon times derived its Christianity, 
not from Augustine's Roman Mission, but from the Celtic 
missionaries who came from the north. 

King Oswald of Northumbria, whose death near 
Oswestry at the hands of the heathen Penda has been 
already alluded to, was the great friend and patron of 
St. Aidan, who came from lona, and was the first Bishop 
of Lindisfarne ; and among the disciples of St. Aidan was 
St. Chad, who became the first Bishop of the Mercians, 
and fixed the seat of the See at Lichfield. But the 
strongest proof of the statement that Shropshire derived 
its Christianity from the north is to be found in a study 
of the saints to whom the churches of the county are 
dedicated. There is among them a reminiscence indeed 
of the earlier British Christianity. The old Church of 
Cressage was dedicated to St. Sampson, who was a Welsh 
saint, born, according to tradition, in Glamorganshire, and 
afterwards Bishop of Dol, in Brittany, among his fellow 
countrymen beyond the sea. There exists a well at Much 


Wenlock dedicated to St. Owen, 1 who was also associated 
with Brittany, and there is considerable probability that 
St Juliana, to whom one of the Churches of Shrewsbury 
is dedicated, represents a British saint, possibly St. Sulien, 
whose name had a similar sound. The traces, however, 
of influence from Lindisfarne are much more numerous. 
Not to mention the prevalence of dedications to 
St. Andrew, the patron of the northern half of the island, 
there are numerous churches dedicated to St. Chad at 
Shrewsbury and elsewhere, and the dedications to St. Alk- 
mund at Shrewsbury and Whitchurch, as well as Derby 
outside the county, point in the same direction, for 
Alkmund was a prince of Northumbria. A stronger proof, 
however, is to be found in the fact that two churches at 
least in Shropshire Donnington and Clungunford are 
dedicated to St. Cuthbert, the Apostle of Durham, who 
was one of the successors of Aidan as Bishop of Lindis- 

There is yet one dedication which is the most 
important of all. On the banks of the Severn, about 
four miles from Shrewsbury, is the pretty church and 
village of Atcham, memorable as the place at which the 
chronicler Ordericus Vitalis was baptized. But it has 
earlier associations than that. Atcham is a shortened 
form of Attingham, and Attingham is by its etymology the 
" home of the children of Eata." We have no difficulty in 
identifying Eata. He was one of the young men trained 
by St. Aidan for missionary work among the heathen 
Saxons ; and so we have in the village which enshrines 
his name, and in the church which is dedicated to his 
honour, an abiding memory of the self-denying efforts by 
which he and his fellow missionaries from the north 
restored to Shropshire the light which heathenism had 
quenched, and restored it to be wholly quenched no more. 2 

1 Cf. Miss Burne's Shropshire Folk-Lore, p. 621. 

2 Ibid., p. 620. 



We pass to the great movement of monasticism as it 
affected Shropshire. The idea that it was possible to live 
a higher religious life in seclusion than amid the occupa- 
tions of the world was one that developed itself at an early 
period in Christian history. Its development, however, 
was not uniform, but varied greatly according to national 
as well as individual temperament. Its earliest form was 
the solitary life of the Egyptian hermit ; but it was a 
natural and easy step from this to the cloister, which was 
intended to combine the devotional life of the individual 
with the home life of a community. Shropshire, indeed, 
had its hermits all through the mediaeval period. In the 
red sandstone of Bridgnorth, at no great distance from the 
town, is a cave which still bears the name of " The Her- 
mitage," and was inhabited by a series of Anchorites, some 
of whose names are recorded, and of whom the earliest is 
said to have been a brother of the Saxon king Athelstan. 
Haughmond Abbey is stated to have been built on the 
site of a hermit's cell, and, not to mention other tradi- 
tions, there was in the time of Henry III., on the Wrekin, 
a " Hermit of Mount Gilbert," whose name was Nicholas 
de Denton, to whom in 1267 the king made a grant of 
six quarters of corn to be paid by the Sheriff of Shropshire, 
"to give the Hermit greater leisure for holy exercises, 
and to support him during his life so long as he shall 
be a Heremite on the aforesaid mountain." x 

We pass, however, to monastic life spent in community. 
Allusion has already been made to Celtic monasticism as 
embodied in settlements like that at Bangor Iscoed, on 
the banks of the Dee, but this was rather a college one 
might almost say a university than a monastery in the 
sense in which the word is commonly used. Its members 
were far more numerous, and the object of their associa- 
tion was more for learning than devotion, and included 

1 Eyton's Antiquities, vol. ix., p. 49. 


the idea of missionary effort on behalf of others. They 
appear to have had but little in the way of a conventual 
rule of life. The development of monasticism proper, by 
which is meant the living in community under strict 
religious rule, received its chief impulse in Western Europe 
from St. Benedict in the first half of the sixth century. 
His rule, which became the model for such institutions, was 
moderate in its requirements. It included a care for learn- 
ing and for devotion, but it attached great importance to 
manual labour. Its essential idea, however, in St. Bene- 
dict's mind, was that of a religious Home. 1 Whatever the 
employment of the brethren whether in the Church or 
in the fields, in the Scriptorium copying manuscripts, or 
in the Hospitium waiting on guests they were to regard 
themselves as members of a household, children of a 
common home, of which the Abbot was the father and 

The Benedictine rule was apparently introduced into 
England by St. Augustine of Canterbury, at the close of 
the sixth century, but it owed much more to St. Dunstan 
in the middle of the tenth. The most opposite pictures of 
the character and work of St. Dunstan have been drawn 
by his friends and his foes, but though he was no doubt 
stern in his ecclesiastical views, and firm in his carrying 
of them out, his personal character was without reproach ; 
and he laboured both for Church and country with all his 
heart at a very difficult crisis. In the State his efforts were 
mainly directed to the consolidation of Danes and Saxons 
into one nation ; in the Church his desire was to raise 
the clergy to a higher level, both social and religious. For 
this purpose he discouraged the secular clergy who shared 
the common life of their flocks, but were under little 
or no discipline, and encouraged the regulars who lived 
under conventual rule ; but at the same time he 
endeavoured to reform the lax ways into which the 

ITaunton's English Black Monks of St. Benedict, vol. i., p. 32. 


monasteries had fallen, and give them a higher tone under 
strict Benedictine rule. 

The Benedictine Order had one abbey of the first rank 
in Shropshire, besides two others of less importance. The 
two smaller houses were Bromfield Priory, near Ludlow, 
and the Priory of Morville, near Bridgnorth ; both had 
been Collegiate foundations in Saxon times, but Bromfield 
became a cell of Gloucester Abbey, and Morville was 


attached to the Abbey of Shrewsbury, just alluded 
to. Shrewsbury Abbey, indeed, was one of the most 
important monasteries in England ; it owed its founda- 
tion to Roger de Montgomery, the great Norman Earl of 
Shrewsbury, who z acting under the advice of his chaplain, 
Odelerius, father of the chronicler Ordericus Vitalis, and 
supported by the influence of his Countess Adeliza, con- 
verted the little wooden church of St. Peter, which stood 


just across the Severn, into a stately home for brethren 
of the Benedictine Order. It is true, indeed, if we read 
between the lines of Ordericus' narrative, that not only the 
credit of the idea of founding the Abbey was due to 
Odelerius, but that the larger part of the endowment also 
came from him ; but it was his patron's support which gave 
success to the movement, and Roger crowned the work by 
himself becoming a brother, and breathing his last within 
its walls. 

The moderate endowment of its foundation was soon 
augmented by other benefactors, until it stood in the first 
rank of religious houses, and its mitred abbot took his 
place as a baron of the kingdom. In the reign of Stephen 
the monks increased the veneration in which the abbey 
was held, as well as its revenues, by adding to the relics 
it already possessed the body of St. Winefride, which was 
brought out of Wales with much ceremony and deposited 
in the Church of the monastery in a shrine of which a 
fragment still remains. The wealth of the abbey is shown 
by the fact that when it was dissolved by Henry VIII. the 
annual revenue amounted to about 600 a large sum 
according to the value of money in those days. At the 
Dissolution, in spite of petitions from the Corporation that 
the buildings might be preserved for use either as a place 
for entertaining illustrious visitors, or as a college, the 
dissolved abbey passed into the hands of lay favourites 
of the court, and the buildings were dismantled and ruined. 
The portions now remaining are the nave of the Church 
(which was saved by the fact that it served the parish 
as well as the monastery) and the reader's pulpit of the 
Refectory, with a few other fragments. The nave is partly 
Norman, with later additions ; the reader's pulpit pro- 
bably dates from the early part of the fourteenth century. 1 

We pass from the Benedictine Order to its earliest 
offshoot, that of Cluny. This had its origin in a desire 

1 For further details, cf. the author's Shrewsbury (Methuen), pp. 71-78. 


to bring monasteries into closer relationship to one 
another by making them dependent on one common head. 
Odo, Abbot of Cluny in the century before the Conquest, 
conceived the idea of a confederation of houses over which 
the Abbot of Cluny should preside, and to whom all the 
other abbots of the Order should render account. The 
idea caught the mind of those in high places, and under 
the fostering care of the Norman kings some thirty 
Cluniac houses were founded in England. 

As regards the daily life of the monks, the Cluniac 
reform was in the direction of what we should now call 
" Ritualism." They not only professed a more strict 
observance of the Benedictine rule than had become 
prevalent, but their services were marked by a splendour 
and magnificence such as had not hitherto been attempted. 

Shropshire possessed one house of the Cluniac Order 
that of Wenlock. Being dependent on another house, it 
was always a priory, and not strictly speaking an abbey, 
but it became a very wealthy and important establish- 

Wenlock, however, had a monastic history before it 
became Cluniac. St. Milburga, granddaughter of Penda, 
the pagan king of Mercia, founded and presided over a 
nunnery there in the seventh century, which is said to have 
been destroyed in one of the Danish raids. This was 
restored in collegiate form by Leofric, Earl of Mercia, and 
husband of the Lady Godiva, some half -century before 
the Conquest. It again, however, fell into decay until it 
passed into the possession of Roger de Montgomery, who 
refounded it as a Cluniac house. He seems to have 
endowed his new foundation with most of the lands which 
had belonged to Leofric's college, but he made it monastic 
in the later sense of the word. In the words of Domesday, 
" Earl Roger hath made the Church of St. Milburga an 
abbey," and the same document also shows that his founda- 
tion of Wenlock was anterior to that of Shrewsbury. In 
the first instance it did not depend on Cluny direct, but 





a =| ._ 


v.v. ..---"lass- 

" ' "9 1 * -^f 


ji't\iv\j,vl *awij^t3*!aft^3^ r .^ 

JM^iiaRg^H I 

E;;>l;; : :;;:;^v:;:;i>/;v;-:::'-'vSl^I 

l;^..; v :v:'.v/A^:-::^;;:.;3^;;;^c^;;r{ ; .'Bi 

1 ;,V,:'':'.V : F : .;::,';".' m'u l ,.'V.!','l'."; ! S 

^>iY"..,.',ry'''j; n. ' ' ' , | I "' " ! ( '"if , , " ifli f' r -' '..', 



on the Priory of La Charite on the Loire, which was itself 
affiliated to Cluny. 

Wenlock soon took a high position among monastic 
establishments ; and, as was the case with Shrewsbury and 
St. Winefride, its monks added both to the veneration and 
wealth of their house by discovering the remains of St. Mil- 
burga and translating them with much ceremony to their 
new church. The result of all this was that by the end 
of the thirteenth century it was a richer foundation even 
than the Abbey of Shrewsbury. 

The fact that it was an alien priory caused it to pass 
through troublous times during the period that England 
was engaged in war with France, but it was saved from 
confiscation by being made denizen that is, constituted 
an English house in 1395, and it survived till the Dissolu- 
tion by Henry VIIL, at which period its annual revenue 
was 434. It had a small dependent cell at Preen. 

The portions of Wenlock still remaining bear witness 
to the desire of the Cluniac Order for magnificence and 
grandeur in their ritual. The dimensions of the great 
church may be traced without difficulty, and the chapter 
house is a beautiful specimen of Transitional Norman. 
The well head in the middle of the cloister garth will also 
arrest attention ; while the Prior's Lodging, though a late 
addition to the monastic buildings, presents the unique 
spectacle of an ecclesiastical house of the fifteenth century 
which has come down to modern times almost untouched, 
and is still inhabited. 

The Cluniac endeavour to reform the Benedictine rule 
had been followed, as was inevitable, by another in the 
opposite direction. If the Cluniacs were the Ritualists of 
Monasticism, the Cistercians were its Puritans; and it 
shows the tendency of English thought, even in mediaeval 
times, that the number of Cistercian monasteries founded 
in England was more than three times as many as of those 
belonging to the Cluniac Order. 

The Cistercians were represented in Shropshire by two 


houses that of Buildwas for monks, and that of White- 
ladies, near firewood, for nuns. The Order had been 
founded in 1098 by Robert, Abbot of Citeaux, in Bur- 
gundy, with the idea of a return to stricter discipline, and 
among the first monasteries founded on the model of 
Citeaux was that of Savigny, in Normandy. 

Buildwas was founded about 1135 by Roger de Clinton, 
Bishop of Chester, and in the first instance was affiliated 
not to Citeaux, but to Savigny. In 1147, however, 
Savigny was united to the Cistercian Order, and carried 
with it the houses dependent on it. Buildwas received 
numerous benefactions and privileges in its earlier days, 
but it never attained to the wealth of its neighbours at 
Shrewsbury and Wenlock. 

The Order was noted for its hospitality, and the monks 
probably found that their income did not much more than 
suffice for their wants. The result was that Giraldus Cam- 
brensis 1 whose estimate was derived from the monasteries 
of the Welsh border tells us that the Cistercians were 
well known for their greed. This view is confirmed in the 
case of Buildwas by a story told by Matthew Paris. He 
relates a conversation which took place in 1256 between 
Henry III. and the then Abbot. 

" How is it," said the King, " that you have denied me 
pecuniary assistance, though I am in need, and, moreover, 
ask you as a suppliant ? Am I not your patron ? " 

" I would," replied the Abbot, " that you were not only 
our patron, but our father and defender ; but it is not fitting 
that you should cause us loss by extorting money from us ; 
you should rather ask the benefit of our devout prayers, 
like the good king of the French." 

" I want both your money and your prayers," His 
Majesty answered. 

But the Abbot made reply : " I do not see how that can 
possibly be ; you must go without one or the other, for if 

1 Giraldus Cambrtnsis 1 Works (Rolls edition), vol. iv., p. 120. 


you violently extort from us our substance, how can we 
offer for you prayers that are devout and heartfelt? And 
prayer without such devoutness is of little or no avail." 

The chronicler, however, goes on to say that the con- 
versation had not much effect on the King. He proceeded 
quietly (tacitus) to insist on help from all the abbots of 
the Order. 1 

There was one direction, however, in which the Cister- 
cians, equally with the other monastic orders, gave without 
stint, and that was for their buildings. They prided them- 
selves on the simplicity of their services, as contrasted 
wth the gorgeous ritual of the Cluniacs, but none the less 
the architecture of their houses must be the very best 
that the age could produce ; and so the remains of the 
Cistercian houses which have come down to us are among 
the architectural gems of England. 

The remains of Buildwas are no exception. They are 
principally the church and the chapter house, which are 
both comparatively perfect, and exhibit all the simple and 
massive beauty which belonged to the Norman period as 
it began to pass into that of the Early English. 

The Cistercian nunnery known as Whiteladies, on the 
Staffordshire confines, so called to distinguish it from the 
Benedictine House of Black Nuns just over the border, is 
of uncertain foundation, but probably dates from the 
end of the twelfth century. It never attained to any 
great wealth or influence. The present remains consist 
of part of the church, and are chiefly of late Norman work, 
agreeing with the date of its foundation. 2 

Neither the Cluniac, however, nor the Cistercian, nor 
even the great Benedictine Order itself, took such firm 
hold on Shropshire as did that of the Augustinian or Austin 
Canons. These had not less than five houses in the county, 
of which two were large and important. They were 

1 Matthew Paris, Opera (edition 1644), p. 622. 

2 Whiteladies is within a mile of Boscobel, where Charles II. was 
hidden in the oak after the battle of Worcester. 


situated at Haughmond, Lilleshall, Wombridge, Chirbury, 
and Ratlinghope. 

The Augustinian Canons were not monks in the 
same sense as the brothers of the Orders already men- 
tioned. As is implied in the word canon they were all 
ordained clergy, whereas in the other Orders many were 
lay brethren. They also differed in another essential 
particular : they were allowed to take cure of souls. This 
was possibly in part the secret of their influence and hold 
on the people. They had interests outside the walls of 
their monastery which prevented them from being wholly 
absorbed in the thought of their own salvation, and in 
ministering to others they were themselves ministered to. 
They derived their name from St. Augustine of Hippo, 
in whose writings they professed to find their rule, and as 
time went on they became more and more assimilated in 
discipline and manner of life to the monks, though their 
distinctive features were not wholly lost. 

Of the Augustinian houses in Shropshire the two most 
important were Haughmond and Lilleshall. Haughmond 
is only about three miles from Shrewsbury, and lies at the 
foot of the hill bearing the same name. It was founded 
between the years 1130 and 1138 by William Fitzalan, 
who was a strong supporter of the Empress Matilda against 
the claims of Stephen. It received endowments not only 
from Fitzalan, but also from Matilda and her son 
Henry II, and among later privileges conferred on it was 
a permission to improve the adjoining land, granted by 
Edward I. when staying at Acton Burnell in 1283. 

There has come down to us an interesting reminiscence 
of the life of a canon of Haughmond in the shape of a 
collection of poems by one of them. John Audelay, or 
Awdlay, was a brother who was living there in the first 
half of the fifteenth century. He tells us that he was then 
blind and deaf, and that his earlier life had not been all 
it should have been. He found amusement for his lonely 
hours in composing poems of a religious character : 


As I lay sick in my languor 

In an Abbey here by West, 
This book I made with great dolour 

When I might not sleep nor rest.l 

And having thus described the manner of composing 
his work, he ends the preface as follows : 

O look ye, sirs, I ask and pray, 
Since this I made with good intent, 
Revering God Omnipotent, 
Pray for me, ye that be present ; 
My name is John the blind Awdlay. 

Though he repudiates all credit to himself, his poems 
contain many wise remarks as well as much devotional 
fervour. They throw light also on the later monastic age 
by allusions to the unpopularity of spiritual earnestness, 
and the need of reformation, though at the same time they 
give expression to the monkish detestation of the oncoming 
wave of reform as embodied in Wycliffe. Nothing more 
is known of his personal life, but we may well echo the 
prayer with which one of his poems concludes, and trust 
that the blind and deaf old man found the " light at 
evening time " which he desired : 

Make me worthy, Father dear, 
That Thy sweet calling I may hear, 

In the hour of my parting; 
" Come unto Me, chosen and blest, 
And have the bliss that aye shall last 

For worlds without ending." 2 

At the Dissolution, when its income was 294, Haugh- 
mond passed into the hands of the Barker family, who 
occupied it as a dwelling house. They introduced various 
changes and additions, which have marred the original 
design and increased the difficulty of tracing it The 
church has almost entirely perished, though the position 
of the high altar may be made out by two remaining graves 

1 The spelling is modernised. 

2 Cf. Poems by John Audelay (Percy Society) ; also Abbey's Religious 
Thought in Old English Verse, p. 93. 


of the Fitzalan family. The fine arches of late Norman 
work, which led to the chapter house, still survive, and a 
part of the domestic buildings, the principal being the hall 
of the infirmary, with a fine gable, containing a large 
window of Decorated architecture. 

Lilleshall Abbey had a history of a different kind. 
Haughmond was the foundation of a layman, and was 
associated with a distinct political cause. 1 Lilleshall was 
the foundation of a prominent ecclesiastic, and was endowed 
at the expense of the parochial clergy. It was not 
originally Augustinian in the strict sense of the term, but 
belonged to an offshoot of that Order, known as Arroasian, 
from their first house being near Arras. They were intro- 
duced into England about 1140, their earliest settlement 
being at Dorchester in Oxfordshire. Shortly afterwards 
some of them came into Shropshire under the patronage 
of Philip de Belmeis, who was Lord of Tong. This Philip 
was nephew of Richard de Belmeis, Bishop of London, 
and was brother of another Richard, who, like his uncle, 
was an ecclesiastic. While only a boy, this second Richard 
had been appointed by his uncle to the post of Archdeacon 
of London, and in 1127, though barely of age, he obtained 
from Henry I. the grant of a valuable prebend in the 
church of St. Alkmund, Shrewsbury. One of the estates 
belonging to this prebend was the manor of Lilleshall, and 
in 1144, or thereabouts, he transferred the Arroasian 
canons, whom his brother Philip had brought from Dor- 
chester, from their home at Lizard Grange to Donnington 
Wood, which was within his own prebendal estate. In 
the year following he obtained permission from Stephen 
to endow them with all the prebends of St. Alkmund as 
they fell vacant, and this large accession of income was 
followed by another migration to the Wood of Lilleshall, 
and by the building on their new site of a stately abbey. 
It will be seen that the foundation of Lilleshall was an 

1 Shropshire Archaeological Society's Translations, ist series, vol. xi., 
p. in. 


example of a system which proved one of the greatest 
blots on Monasticism, and went far eventually to alienate 
the minds of men from it, and bring about its ruin. It 
was the diverting of an endowment from parochial to 
monastic purposes, and as might be expected, there was 
no love lost between the authorities of the town of Shrews- 
bury, which had been despoiled, and the authorities of the 
abbey, which had been the gainer by the spoliation. The 
abbot had a house in the town, which was traditionally 
the fine half-timbered house which still stands in the 
Butcher Row near St Alkmund's Church, but neither the 
abbot nor his stately residence could have been any object 
of admiration to the one poorly-endowed vicar, who was 
left to do the work at St. Alkmund's, instead of the college 
of twelve prebendaries it had previously possessed. 

Lilleshall, like Haughmond, had its poet, whose works 
have survived till the present day. About the time that 
John Audelay was whiling away his hours of blindness 
at the one house in the first half of the fifteenth century, 
John Mirk, or Myrk, was also writing verses at the other. 
Nothing is known of his personal career beyond the fact 
that he was a canon possibly prior of Lilleshall, but 
two works of his have come down to us. One is a collec- 
tion of sermons in English, and the other is a poem, also 
in English, containing instructions for parish priests. His 
instructions throw much light on the manners of the time, 
but the character he incidentally gives of the clergy is not 
more favourable than that drawn by other writers of the 
period. The poem opens as follows : 

God saith Himself, as written we find, 

That when the blind leadeth the blind 

Into the ditch they fallen boo [both] 

For they see not whereby to go. 

So priests do now behave by dawe [day] 

They are so blind in God's law 

That when they should the people rede [instruct] 

Into sin they do them lead.l 

1 Edited for Early English Text Society by E. Peacock, 1868. The 
spelling is modernised. 


At the Dissolution, when the Abbey passed into lay 
hands, the income was 229. The ruins still remaining 
are considerable. They consist of the church, which 
appears to have been aisleless, and a large portion of the 
domestic buildings, from which the plan of the house may 
be traced without much difficulty. The architecture is 
for the most part Transitional Norman, going back to the 
period when the abbey was founded, though there are some 
details of later date. 

Wombridge Priory was founded between the years 
1130 and 1135 by William de Hadley and his wife, but 
it never attained any eminence or prestige. Its canons 
lost nothing in the way of benefactions for want of asking, 1 
but they were overshadowed by the greater abbeys which 
surrounded them. At the Dissolution, Wombridge passed 
with Lilleshall to the Leveson family, but the buildings 
have entirely disappeared. 

Chirbury Priory was later in foundation than Wom- 
bridge by about half a century. Its founder was Robert 
de Buthlers, Lord of Montgomery, and its original site 
was at Snead, just over the border, but as the advowson 
of Chirbury formed part of the endowment, and the church 
was probably served from the priory, it was moved to 
that site. In the reign of Edward I. permission was 
granted to remove back to Snead, but the idea was not 
carried out. 

There is an interesting light thrown on monastic life 
by the account of a visit paid to Chirbury in 
October, 1285, by Richard de Swinfteld, Bishop of Here- 
ford, who was diligent in the visitation of his diocese, and 
the record of whose work in that direction has come 
down to us. In a letter written to the Prior after his 
visit, he blamed the brethren for being so vain and 
litigious, so given to gossip and wandering about, that 
they neither obeyed God nor kept the rules of their Order, 

1 Eyton's Antiquities of Shropshire^ vol. vii., p. 365. 

t&V;~*r-~ ' V -*A| \l(i 



and he charged him to reduce them to better discipline at 
all costs. It is satisfactory to know that the bishop's 
admonitions had their effect. Some two years afterwards 
he visited the priory again, and was able to change his 
tone. There had been a satisfactory reformation, and 
instead of blaming them, he was able to praise their 
devotion to God and their kindness to their fellow men. 1 
At the Dissolution the income of the Priory was less 
than 100. The buildings have disappeared. 

The last of the Augustinian houses was the little Priory 
of Ratlinghope at the foot of the Stiperstones, which was 
a cell of the great Abbey of Wigmore, just over the 
Herefordshire border. It is interesting as the subject of 
a document by Llewelyn the Great, Prince of Wales, in 
which he enjoins his adherents to safeguard and protect 
it as a house devoted to pious uses. 2 At the Dissolution 
its revenues barely reached $. 

Old Shropshire, as distinguished from the present 
county, may claim also one house belonging to the Pre- 
monstratensian Order. The parish of Halesowen, best 
known, perhaps, as containing the home of the poet 
Shenstone, known as " The Leasowes," belonged in whole 
or in part to Salop till the middle of the last century, though 
surrounded by Worcestershire, and twenty miles or so 
away from the main body of the county. In this parish 
an abbey was founded in 1215 by Peter de Rupibus, 
Bishop of Winchester, to whom King John had granted 
the manor. The Order to which it belonged derived its 
name from Pre montre Latinized into Praemonstratum 
near to Laon, in France, and was founded by St. Norbert, 
whose object was to raise the tone of the Augustinian 
Canons by stricter discipline and more earnest exercises of 
devotion. Halesowen Abbey became one of considerable 
wealth and importance, its income at the Dissolution 
amounting to 337 a year. Some fragments of the 

1 Household Expenses of Bp. Siuinfield (Camden Soc.), p. cxciv. 

2 Eyton's Antiquities, vol. vi., p. 160. 



conventual church and refectory remain, which from their 
style must have formed part of the work of the founder. 

Of the purely alien priories, that is, priories which 
owned allegiance only to monastic houses beyond the sea, 
and had no superior in England, Shropshire had one. This 
was the Priory of Alberbury, locally known as the White 
Abbey. It was a cell of Grandmont in Limousin, in the 
south-west of France. Its inmates were monks properly 
so called, not canons, and so far as the Order of Grand- 
mont was to be regarded as a distinct Order, it was, like 
the Cluniacs and Cistercians, a reformed offshoot of the 
Benedictines; but it never came near them in importance 
or influence. 

Alberbury was probably founded between 1220 and 
1230 by one of the Fitzwarin family, but as an alien priory 
its revenues were confiscated during the wars with France. 
It was in royal hands as early as the reign of Edward III., 
and in 1441, at the request of Archbishop Chicheley, its 
possessions were granted to his new College of All Souls, 
Oxford, to which they still belong. The remains of the 
priory now form part of a farmhouse. 

It only remains to speak of the Military Orders, and 
of the Crusades in which they originated. As regards the 
Crusades themselves, considered as a religious movement, 
it is probable that Shropshire was much less affected than 
other counties which were in closer touch with the conti- 
nent ; but their influence was nevertheless considerable. 

There is no record that the western shires contributed 
any large number to the motley crew which formed the 
vanguard of the first Crusade under Peter the Hermit and 
Walter the Pennyless, but when, a little later, men like 
Robert Curthose, son of the Conqueror, assumed the Cross, 
there is little doubt that he would have Salopians among 
his followers, especially as Robert de Belesme, Earl of 
Shrewsbury, was among the friends and supporters of that 

In the second Crusade the effect of the movement 


was more apparent. It is beyond doubt that it was joined 
by men of position in the county, for William Peverel, 
Lord of Sutton Maddock, was among those who died 
in Palestine in the course of it. This Crusade also num- 
bered among its victims one who was still better known, 
who has been already mentioned in another connection. 
This was Roger de Clinton, Bishop of Chester, who had 
already founded Buildwas Abbey. He joined the Cru- 
sade in 1147, and died at Antioch the following year. 
The most interesting glimpse, however, of the relation 
of the Crusades to the common life of the times in this 
part of England, is given us by Giraldus Cambrensis in 
his account of the preaching of a Crusade, in which he 
himself took part. It was in the spring of 1188 that 
Archbishop Baldwin, who had succeeded to the See of 
Canterbury three years before, determined to pay a visit 
to Wales to kindle if possible among the Welsh that 
enthusiasm for the Cross which burned in his own breast. 1 
He chose as his companion Giraldus whose real name 
was Gerald de Barri who was at that time Archdeacon 
of Brecon in the diocese of Menevia, or St. David's. 
Giraldus was in his element. Lighthearted and, above 
all, exceedingly well satisfied with himself, he felt all the 
importance of personally conducting the Archbishop 
through his own country, and his narrative everywhere 
shows how he enjoyed his task. The Archbishop and he 
began their progress at Hereford, and spent a month in 
South Wales. They then passed somewhat hurriedly 
through North Wales, and spent Easter at Chester ; then, 
turning south again, they passed through Whitchurch and 
Oswestry to Shrewsbury, where they took a few days 
rest, and then through Wenlock, Ludlow, and Leominster 
back to Hereford. He speaks of successful preaching of the 
Crusade at various places on the route. At Chester "the 
Archbishop's discourses induced several to be signed with 

1 He afterwards joined the Crusade himself, and died in Palestine in 


the cross and join the Crusade." At Oswestry he relates 
an incident which had taken place there a short time 
before, which throws considerable light on the manners 
and thought of the period : 

Bishop Reyneriusl [of St. Asaph] was preaching a Crusade ; several 
had taken the cross and were urging and entreating one of their comrades, 
a youth of great bodily strength, to join them. His answer was this : 
" When I have avenged my master's death with this spear which now 
I hold in my hand, then and then only will I join you," by " master " 
meaning Owain, son of Madoc, a great and distinguished chief who had 
not long ago been done to death by his cousin, Owain de Keveiliauc, under 
circumstances of the foulest treachery. As he spoke, mastered by his 
anger and a yearning for revenge, he brandished his spear wildly in the 
air ; it broke off short of its own accord on either side of his fingers and 
fell to the ground, leaving in his hand nothing, as it were, except a 
handful of the shaft. Amazed and terrified at this portent, which he 
interpreted as a most direct call from heaven to him to take the cross, 
he hesitated no longer, but there and then volunteered for the Crusade. 

At Shrewsbury, the Archdeacon cannot help praising 
himself : 

Here, too, thanks to the admonitions of the Archbishop, and the 
gracious sermons of the Archdeacon of Menevia, we persuaded many to 
follow the cross.2 

How many of these cruce signati actually went abroad 
it is very difficult to determine. They were allowed under 
certain circumstances to redeem their personal service by 
a pecuniary payment. The number, however, who joined 
the Crusade of 1 1 89 under Richard I. and Philip of France 
was large, and among those who fell in the capture of 
Acre, which was its principal incident, is said to have been 
Roger de Plowden, a Shropshire knight, who had received 
a special addition to his coat of arms for his conspicuous 

1 Bp. Reyner was a benefactor to Oswestry, founding a hospital there 
in the opening years of the thirteenth century, which he afterwards put 
in charge of the Knights Hospitallers. Cf. Eyton's Antiquities, vol. x., 
p. 346. 

* Cf. " Giraldus Cambrensis in Shropshire," by the Author, in 
Shropshire Archaeological Society' 's Transactions, yd series, vol. iii., p. 37. 


In the Crusade of the following century, which was led 
in the first instance by Louis IX. (St. Louis), Shropshire 
appears to have taken a more distinguished part. The 
English leader was Prince Edward, afterwards Edward I., 
and his military reputation and personal popularity secured 
him a large following. Among Shropshire knights who 
joined him, in 1270, were Hamo le Strange, Lord of 
Stretton, and his brother Robert, of whom the former died 
during the Crusade, and the latter apparently returned with 
shattered health. It was not long, however, before Edward 
himself was recalled home by the death of his father, and 
so the last of the Crusades, properly so called, came to 
an end. Shakespeare indeed represents Henry IV., nearly 
a century and a half later, as proposing to lead an expe- 

To chase the pagans in those holy fields 
Over whose acres walked those blessed feet 
Which fourteen hundred years ago were nailed 
For our advantage on the bitter cross. 

But by the time the fifteenth century dawned, the day of 
the Crusades was gone by for ever, and Henry's intention, 
even if he really had formed it, speedily came to nought. 

The Crusades, however, gave birth to two Orders of 
military monks the Knights Hospitallers and the Knights 
Templars. Of these the Order of the Knights Hospital- 
lers, or Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, was slightly 
the earlier in foundation, and lasted longest ; but both 
were the outcome of the enthusiasm of the first Crusade. 
The Hospitallers had their origin in a hospital dedicated 
to St. John the Baptist, which had been built at Jerusalem 
as early as the middle of the eleventh century for the use 
of pilgrims to the Holy Places. After the capture of the 
city under Godfrey de Bouillon, those in charge of the 
Hospital were joined by others from the Christian army, 
and they were soon after enrolled into a religious Order, 
their special duty being the protection of pilgrims. It was 
a necessary outcome of the time that the Order became 


military, and the result was that men of high rank became 
members, and wealth rapidly flowed into their treasury. 
Commanderies, as they were called, were established as 
branches of the Order, first in maritime cities for the 
benefit of pilgrims, and then elsewhere throughout Europe. 
After the capture of Jerusalem by Saladin, the Hospitallers 
moved their headquarters in 1191 to Acre, whence a 
century later they retired to Cyprus, and thence to Rhodes, 
and finally to Malta. 

The Templars had a shorter term of existence. They 
took their rise in 1119, when a small body of French 
knights who had accompanied Godfrey de Bouillon bound 
themselves to protect the Holy Places, and those who 
visited them. They were assigned quarters on the site 
of the Temple, and hence received their name. Their 
growth as an Order resembled that of the Hospitallers, 
between whom and themselves there grew up the fiercest 
jealousy. Their bravery became a pattern to Europe, but 
their independence of episcopal authority, combined with 
their wealth and haughtiness, brought on them almost 
universal detestation, 1 and in the opening years of the 
fourteenth century they were suppressed, their suppression 
being marked, especially in France, by circumstances of 
great barbarity. 

Shropshire had two establishments belonging to these 
military orders, one at Lydley Heys, in the parish of Car- 
dington, near Church Stretton, and the other at Halston, 
between Oswestry and Ellesmere. The manor of Lydley 
Heys passed into the possession of the Templars, and 
became a Preceptory of that Order about the year 1155. 
At their suppression in 1 308 it became the property of the 
Hospitallers, from whom, however, it soon passed to the 
Earl of Arundel. 

The history of Halston is more obscure. That, too, 
is said to have belonged to the Templars, but if so it 

1 Reader^ of Scott will remember his character of the Templar, Sir 
Brian de Bois-Guilbert, in Ivanhoe. 


passed to the Hospitallers at an early period, for it was 
in their possession in 1221. No buildings remain in either 
instance, but at Halston a trace of its history is to be found 
in the fact that the little Church remained extra-parochial, 
and therefore independent of episcopal authority, down to 
modern times. 

In following this sketch of monastic history, it will be 
noticed that the largest proportion of religious houses were 
founded in the most turbulent period of feudalism, 
especially during the anarchy of Stephen's reign. The fact 
illustrates the value of the monastic system when it was 
at its best. Monasteries were the resting-places for travel- 
lers when there were few or no inns ; they supplied the 
wants of the poor when workhouses were undreamed of; 
they multiplied books and kept learning alive before the 
age of printing ; but beyond this, in times of feudal 
oppression their walls were the refuge of the weak, and 
of those for whom the temptations of the world had proved 
too strong. It was well that those who had not strength 
to fight should have opportunity to pray, and that those 
whom the world had soiled should have quiet opportunity 
to repent. Roger de Montgomery, retiring to his founda- 
tion at Shrewsbury, was only one instance among many of 
such a desire, and we must judge it by the light of that 
age and not our own. 

It is a beautiful picture which Tennyson has drawn in 
his Idylls of the King, when he tells how Guinevere came 
back to a pure life in the nunnery of Almesbury : 

They took her to themselves ; and she 
Dwelt with them, till in time their Abbess died. 
Then she, for her good deeds and her pure life, 
And for the power of ministration in her, 
And likewise for the high rank she had borne, 
Was chosen Abbess ; there, an Abbess, lived 
For three brief years, and there, an Abbess, passed 
To where beyond these voices there is peace, l 

1 Tennyson, Idylls of the King, "Guinevere." 



By the time when the twelfth century closed, the best 
work of the monastic system was done. This indeed would 
not have been allowed by its members at the time, for 
monastic houses went on long after that period increasing 
both in number and outward prosperity, but we who look 
back over the centuries have no difficulty in arriving at the 
conclusion stated. The growth of the spiritual life of the 
monks had not kept pace with the growth of material pros- 
perity. It had become the object of the monasteries to be 
great landowners their granges in various parts which 
required supervision brought laxity of discipline to those 
to whom the charge was committed, and who were thus 
removed from supervision themselves while, within the 
wall of the monastery, wealth brought its accompaniment 
of increased luxury. 

It was not long before the inevitable reaction set in, 
and the religious life of the nation was revived by the 
coming of the Friars. This movement, it will be remem- 
bered, owed its origin to two leaders who, differing in race 
and country, and with different ends in view, arrived about 
the same time at similar conclusions as to the wants of 
the age and the methods by which those wants should be 
met. One was St. Dominic, a Spaniard, born in 1 1 70 ; the 
other was an Italian, St. Francis of Assisi, born in 1 1 82. 
The object with which St. Dominic set out was the 
conversion of heretics, that of St. Francis was the help of 
the poor and needy, and the method which suggested itself 
to both was personal association with those whom they 
desired to influence, and willingness to share their lot, 
however humble and however degraded. 

The essential idea of the work of the Friars was not, 
as in the monastic system, the care of the individual soul, 
but ministration to the wants of others ; and in the case 
of St. Francis in particular, this enthusiasm to follow in 
the steps of the Divine Master "Who came not to be 


ministered unto, but to minister," reached such a point 
that, according to tradition, his body caught the enthusiasm 
of his spirit, so that his hands and feet and side became 
marked with the stigmata of the Master's Passion. 

There were points of difference of detail in connection 
with the work as sketched in the minds respectively of 
St. Dominic and St. Francis, but when each had founded 
an Order, the work of both became practically the same, 
as they mutually influenced one another. The Franciscans 
rose to a proper appreciation of the value of learning, 
which St. Francis himself had despised, and the Domini- 
cans adopted the vows of poverty which originated with 
St. Francis. 

Their sphere of work was in direct contrast to that of 
the monks, being almost entirely confined to the towns. 
In these there had been gradually growing up a mass of 
humanity almost outside religious influence. The develop- 
ment of " slum " life had begun, and to the Friars is due the 
credit of making the earliest effort to cope with it. For 
a century or more before their coming, the towns had been 
growing in size and importance, but alongside of the 
prosperous trade gilds there grew up a population of 
workers who did not come under their fostering care, 
whose work was precarious and their wages uncertain; 
and to these were added the vagabonds who had made 
the country too hot to hold them, and sought to hide 
themselves from various penalties among the more crowded 
population of the town. This refuse of city life naturally 
found a home in the most insanitary quarters, where wits 
indeed were sharp, but where filth and loathsome diseases 
reigned unchecked. This mass of degraded humanity, 
however, was exactly what appealed to the wide charity 
of men like St. Francis, and before the middle of the 
thirteenth century settlements of Friars were to be found 
in most of the towns. 

The Franciscans, or Grey Friars, had houses at Shrews- 
bury and Bridgnorth ; the Dominicans, or Black Friars, 


at Shrewsbury ; the Carmelites at Ludlow ; and the Austin 
Friars (who must not be confused with the Austin Canons) 
had no less than three settlements in the county, namely, 
at Shrewsbury, Ludlow, and Woodhouse, near Cleobury 

The Carmelites, also known as White Friars, derived 
their name from Mount Carmel, where a settlement of 
hermits had been formed in the time of the Crusades, and 
being driven out of Palestine by the Saracens, became 
identified with the Friars, and were approved as such by 
Pope Innocent IV., about 1250. 

The origin of the Austin Friars, or Friars Eremites, is 
somewhat obscure, but the Order seems to have been 
formed by the union of several smaller bodies, effected by 
Pope Clement IV. about 1265. 

The above-mentioned were the four principal Orders. 
There were several others of less importance, but as they 
had no settlements in Shropshire they need not be noticed 

A study of the sites chosen by the Friars in all the 
Shropshire settlements goes to throw light on their work. 
They generally took up their abode in the most uninviting 
quarters of the town, on the river marsh, or by the town 
ditch, on ground that was more or less waste. There are 
only two exceptions to this, and one of them is doubtful. 
The site of the Dominican house at Shrewsbury, below 
the present Infirmary, had some pleasant surroundings, but 
it was near the river, and probably liable to floods. The 
only real exception is the site of the Austin Friars' settle- 
ment at Woodhouse. This is in the country, not in a 
town, but the choice may perhaps be accounted for by 
the fact that the Order was formed by the amalgamation 
of several existing bodies, and that in the latter half of 
the fifteenth century, which is the date of the only exist- 
ing record of its belonging to the Austin Friars, 1 the 

l Shropshire Archaological Society's Transactions, vol. ii., 1st series, 


Order had not only spread widely, but had lost some of 
its primitive simplicity. 

The Dominicans and Franciscans had both begun their 
work in England between 1220 and 1225, and it at first 
was an untold boon to those among whom they laboured. 
Their preaching and ministration brought hope to the 
leper and the outcast, and taught the sin-stained the 
gospel of pardon and peace ; while their poverty was the 
sign of the reality of their sympathy. 

But the system had its elements of weakness. The 
Friars began by living on the alms of the people, they 
ended in being professional beggars ; they began by caring 
for those who had been outside the care of the parish 
priest, they ended in deliberately undermining and thwart- 
ing his work. The result was that by the close of the 
fourteenth century the system had become wholly dis- 
credited, and the name of friar was regarded as almost 
synonymous with ignorance, mendacity, and vice. Indeed, 
by that time the religious life of the country had again 
fallen to a low ebb. To see this we have only to turn to 
the pages of two contemporary poets, who were born and 
died within a few years of each other, and have left us a 
striking picture of the time. One was William Langland, 
author of the Vision of Piers Plowman, the other 
was Geoffrey Chaucer. Langland's poem is of special 
interest to Salopians, inasmuch as he was probably a 
Salopian himself, born at Cleobury Mortimer about 1332. 
His long allegorical poem, written in alliterative metre, 
consists of a series of visions, in which he incidentally 
describes, in the spirit of true satire, the abuses, civil and 
religious, which abounded in the second half of the four- 
teenth century. Many of these were faults of human 
nature confined to no one period of history, but others 
were characteristic of the time, and the Friars came 
repeatedly under his lash. For example, in the opening 
vision of the " Field Full of Folk," he saw 


Friars of all the four Orders, 

Who preached to the people for personal profit, 

As it seemed to them good, put a gloss on the gospel, 

And explained it at pleasure; they coveted copes. 1 

And later on he introduces a friar as ready to confess 
and absolve Lady Meed (that is Bribery) for a pecuniary 
consideration, without any regard to penitence : 

Tho' falsehood had followed thee for fifty years, 
I soon would assoil thee for a sackful of wheat. 

But along with the Friars he introduces another 
ecclesiastical character whose influence for evil was still 
worse. This was the Pardoner, who went up and down 
the country selling pardons or indulgences. 

There preached too a pardoner, a priest as he seemed, 
Who brought forth a bull, with the bishop's seals, 
And said he himself might absolve them all 
Of falsehood in fasting, or vows they had broken. 
The laymen believed him, and liked well his words, 
Came up and came kneeling, to kiss the said bull : 
He blessed them right bravely, and blinded their eyes, 
And won with his roll both their rings and their brooches. 

If we turn to Chaucer, who was born within ten years 
of Langland, and probably died in the identical year of 
his death, we find the same characters and the same 

Among the pilgrims who assembled at the Tabard Inn 
in Southwark to take their journey together to the Shrine 
of St. Thomas at Canterbury, as related in his Prologue, 
were both a friar and a pardoner as well as a monk and 
a nun. The poet has depicted all in unfading colours, 
but only a few allusions can be made here. 

Chaucer's Friar, like Langland's, 

1 Quoted from The Vision of Piers Plowman done into Modern 
English, by Professor Skeat. 


Had power of confession 
As said himself, more than a curate, 
For of his order he was licentiate. 
Full sweetly heard he confession, 
And pleasant was his absolution. 
He was an easy man to give penance, 
There as he wist to have a good pittance v . . 
. . . Instead of weeping and prayers 
Men might give silver to the poor friars. 

His Pardoner, too, had his wallet 

Brimful of pardons come from Rome all hot, 

together with a store of relics which he found very profit- 
able for the extraction of money from the pockets of the 
faithful. The prominent feature of the poet's portraits 
of the monk and nun of his time is their air of prosperity. 
The world went well with them both, as shown alike in 
their manners and their dress. In her case it is only 
politely hinted that she was of goodly proportions, but he 
is more bluntly described : 

He was a lord full fat and in good point. 

We must not, however, from this think that everyone 
was degenerate, and that the salt of religious life had 
wholly lost its savour. Langland has given us in his hero, 
Piers the Plowman, the picture, drawn from contemporary 
life, of one who had followed truth for fifty long years, 
who whether he digged or delved, sowed or reaped, did 
everything from Christian motive; while as to Chaucer, 
there is no more beautiful character to be found in 
English literature than his picture of the parson or secular 
parish priest a man poor in substance but rich in holy 
thought and work who did not allow rain or thunder 
to prevent his trudging to the furthest end of his wide 
and scattered parish to visit his parishioners in sickness 
or distress; who instead of going to London in search 
of preferment, stayed at home to shepherd the flock 


committed to him ; who, in a word, sought no honour 
for himself, 

But Christ's lore and His Apostles twelve, 
He taught, but first he followed it himselve. 

Many causes, however, were now at work to bring 
about a change in religious thought and feeling. The 
concluding years of the fourteenth century were a period 
of unrest for various reasons, social and political, as well 
as ecclesiastical. In the political world the power had 
gradually passed out of the hands of the baronage into 
those of the commons, while social changes had put life 
into the classes below. 

The havoc wrought by the Black Death, whose ravages 
it is hardly possible to exaggerate, with its result of short- 
ness of labour and demands for higher wages, awakened 
aspirations which culminated in the Peasants' Revolt in 
1381. And along with this social and political awakening, 
knowledge was making itself more widely felt. Men 
began to think and write in the homely English tongue, 
which appealed to all, and when writers like Langland and 
Chaucer showed up abuses in Church and State in 
language which all could understand, the doom of those 
abuses was sealed, however long the end might be delayed. 
It was reserved, however, for Wycliffe to impart the final 
impulse to this current which had set in. He did this 
when, about 1380, he issued the first translation of the 
Bible in English ; and by degrees he became the central 
figure of the movement, especially in its religious aspect. 

John Wycliffe was a man of whose character and work 
very various estimates have been formed, and it is beyond 
the scope of this chapter to discuss them in detail. None 
can dispute his influence, whether they approve of it or 
not. He stood in the first rank of learned men at Oxford, 
and he set himself resolutely to face the problems of his 
time. It was impossible for him to be satisfied with 
things as they were, either in Church or State. Men were 


tired of the tyranny of the Papal See, and when to the 
other abuses which had grown up the Papacy added the 
scandal of two rival Popes, one at Rome and one at 
Avignon, each claiming equal power over the Church, 
thoughtful men like Wycliffe easily broke free from their 
allegiance. At first he was only a reformer, anxious to 
get rid of abuses in practice, but by degrees he went 
further. He felt that the influence of his sworn enemies, 
the monks and friars, had its roots not in practice but in 
doctrine in the sacerdotal claim which derived its power 
from the prevailing view of the Mass and he went on to 
attack the doctrine of Transubstantiation, and other dogmas 
closely connected with it. Not only by his own preaching 
from his pulpit at Lutterworth and by the publication of 
pamphlet after pamphlet, but by means of " poor 
preachers," whom he organized and sent out, in imitation 
of the friars, he endeavoured to bring his teaching home 
to the common people. His followers became known as 
Lollards, and Lollardry took firm hold of Shropshire, as it 
did more or less of all the midlands, between the Thames 
and the Trent. 

The evidence of this is somewhat fragmentary and 
circumstantial, but it appears conclusive. It groups itself 
largely round two names, who were regarded by one party 
as heretics, and by the other as martyrs for the truth. 
The first of these was William Thorpe, a priest who comes 
into notice in the year 1407, when he preached a sermon 
in St. Chad's Church, Shrewsbury, in which he inveighed 
strongly against the abuses of the Church, and promul- 
gated the special views held by the Lollards on the sacra- 
ment of the altar and other matters. It is not probable 
that he took this bold step without encouragement. Sir 
Roger Acton, who sympathized with his views, resided in 
the town, 1 and Thorpe himself was probably connected 
with the neighbourhood. His views did not indeed meet 

1 Owen and Blakeway's History of Shrewsbury, vol. i., p. 202 [note]. 


with encouragement from the town authorities, for he was 
thrown into prison, and a few weeks later was removed to 
Lambeth, when he was arraigned before the Archbishop 
of Canterbury on a formal complaint from the Bailiffs and 
Common Council. This Archbishop was Thomas Arundel, 
brother of Richard Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel, and as such 
was well acquainted with Shrewsbury and the neighbour- 
hood. Thorpe's examination before him is given in detail 
in Foxe's Acts and Monuments, and the Archbishop's ques- 
tions seem to show that he was speaking from personal 
knowledge. He appears, moreover, anxious not only to 
be fair to his prisoner, but if possible to give him a loop- 
hole of escape from the consequences of his opinions ; and 
as there is no record of any further punishment being 
inflicted on Thorpe, and no record of his recanting them, 
there is at least a probability that local influence was 
sufficiently strong to procure his release. 

The other prominent Lollard around whom interest 
centres was a man of higher position and greater influence. 
This was Sir John Oldcastle, known also by courtesy as 
Lord Cobham from his having married the heiress of that 
title. It may be well, however, in passing, to allude to 
some other men of position in this part of England whose 
fostering care did much to promote the spread of the 
new opinions. At a period somewhat before that in which 
Sir John Oldcastle became conspicuous as a Lollard, more 
than one of the contemporary chroniclers mention among 
the English nobility and knighthood the following as 
favouring Lollardry : Richard Stury, Lewis Clifford, John 
Clanvowe, Thomas Latimer, and John Montague. 1 Two 
at least of these held property in Shropshire. The family 
of Stury belonged to Rossall, near Shrewsbury, and were 
closely associated with the town itself. This same Richard 
Stury was one of the twelve burgesses appointed by the 
Bailiffs and commonalty of the Town of Salop, under 

1 Walsingham gives these names twice with a slight variation, vol. ii., 
p. 159, and p. 216; Trokelow also, p. 174 (Rolls series). 


the advice of the Earl of Arundel, in the year 1381, as a 
Committee to reform abuses and secure better order among 
the inhabitants ; and another Richard Stury, apparently his 
grandson, was one of the first aldermen of the borough, and 
served the office of bailiff no less than four times. 1 

The family of Clifford originally belonged to Here- 
fordshire, where, at Clifford Castle, on the Wye, near to 
Hay, tradition says that Rosamund Clifford the " Fair 
Rosamund " of Henry II. was born. In connection with 
her the family came into their Shropshire estates, Henry 
having granted to her father the important Manor of 
Corfham in Corvedale in the year 1 1 /8. 2 

It will be seen that if the representatives of families 
like these gave their support and favour to the Lollards, 
the system would not fail to gain a secure footing, both 
in Shrewsbury and the county generally. And this pro- 
bability is increased when we turn to study the career of 
Sir John Oldcastle himself. Though it does not appear 
that he possessed any property actually in Shropshire, he 
was closely connected with its borderland. He was pro- 
bably born at no great distance from its southern boundary, 
where his family were Lords of the Manor of Almeley, 
near Weobley, in Herefordshire; and when at a later 
period of his life he was in hiding, his first place of con- 
cealment was in the neighbourhood of Malvern, not far 
from the boundary in another direction. 

It is beyond the scope of this book to trace his career 
in detail, or to do more than allude to the opposite opinions 
expressed as to his character opinions which on the one 
hand made him the original of Shakespeare's Sir John 
Falstaff, and on the other regarded him as a martyred 
saint. He was probably neither one nor the other, for 
though a trusted friend of Henry V., there is no trace of 
dissoluteness in the friendship, and on the other hand, 

1 Owen and Blakeway,, vol. i., p. 169, and p. 314. 

2 Shropshire Archaological Society's Transactions, 3rd series, vol. ii., 
P- 252. 



though he began by a sincere devotion to the religious 
principles which he believed to be the truth, he can hardly 
be acquitted later on of crime against the political and 
social order of the realm. Shropshire, however, was 
closely, if indirectly, associated with the end of his career. 
Having been arrested for heresy, and tried before Arch- 
bishop Arundel in 1413, he escaped from the Tower and 
remained in hiding for over three years, partly in London, 
but mainly in the West Midlands, and his immunity from 
discovery for so long a time is the best proof both of his 
personal popularity and of the spread of the opinions with 
which he was identified. At length, however, the end 
came, and it was on the Shropshire border that the arrest 
was made. Local tradition says that his last place of 
concealment was among the Montgomeryshire hills near 
Meifod, 1 and here, in 1417, he was captured by the emis- 
saries of Lord Powis after a severe struggle, in which 
some of his captors were slain, and he himself severely 
wounded. Conveyed in a horse litter first to Welshpool, 
and afterwards to London, he was hung, and then burnt 
in St. Giles' Fields, in December of that year. 

After his death the power of Lollardry as an aggressive 
force waned and gradually died away, but the seed had 
been sown and was in due time to bear fruit. That fruit 
came to full maturity in the Puritanism of the seventeenth 
century, but before then another great religious upheaval 
was to take place for which Lollardry had helped to 
prepare. That upheaval was the religious movement 
which we speak of as the Reformation. 


The Reformation, it should be remembered, was an 
inevitable fact of history apart from its religious aspect. 
For a century and a half before the accession of 

1 Readers of Tennyson will remember his description of Sir John 
Oldcastle among the Welsh hills (Ballads and other Poems, 1880). 


Henry VIII. undercurrents had been at work which were 
certain sooner or later to produce their result. As 
already mentioned, the old baronage with its feudal rights 
had almost disappeared in the Wars of the Roses ; the 
towns had risen into importance, and their citizens of the 
trading class had become an important factor in the state ; 
while the Black Death and its effect on wages had 
awakened aspirations in the peasantry of which they were 
incapable at an earlier period. And alongside of these 
political and social changes, a new and unthought of 
stimulus had been given to the intellectual progress of 
the nation. Poets and prose writers had not only written 
books which spoke to the people in their own tongue, but 
the invention of printing had brought these books in- 
creasingly within their reach, and thus the New Learning, 
as it was called, was everywhere making its way and 
shedding its light, until men refused any longer to bow to 
mere authority, but dared to think for themselves, with 
the result that the dogmas of the Church had to face a 
criticism undreamt of in earlier ages. This criticism was 
helped by the state of the Church itself. Monasticism and 
the system of the friars had alike done their work and 
become a byeword for what was degenerate and corrupt ; 
and while the assumptions of the priesthood had been 
constantly growing, their power for good had been as 
constantly diminishing, until the alienation between clergy 
and laity was almost complete The appeal to scripture 
which Wycliffe and the Lollards had begun, and which 
had been stimulated by his translation of the Bible into 
English, had not been made in vain, and it was only a 
question of time when, to borrow a comparison from the 
Book of Job, the great wind should come from the wilder- 
ness and smite the four corners of the house of mediaeval 
Papacy, and bring it in ruin on the heads of those whom 
it sheltered. 

The immediate cause of the rupture with Rome was 
little creditable to anyone concerned, for it had its origin 


in the headstrong will and unbridled passions of 
Henry VIII. Shropshire had been familiar with the figures 
of his elder brother Arthur and his Spanish bride Katharine 
of Arragon, when they had presided over the Council of 
the Marches and kept their court at Ludlow Castle. But 
Prince Arthur died after only a few months of married 
life, while his father, Henry VII., still reigned ; and his 
death brought a difficulty to the king. The weakness of 
Henry VII. was his love of money, and Katharine had 
brought with her a rich dowry which he was unwilling to 
lose. The difficulty was got over by espousing Arthur's 
widow to his younger brother Henry, then a boy of eleven. 
The result was what might have been anticipated ; Henry, 
when he grew up and came to the throne, soon tired of 
this wife, who had been provided for him without his 
choice, and who by this time was faded in person as well 
as grave and solemn in disposition and manner. The 
sprightly and vivacious Anne Boleyn was much more to 
his taste, and in the light of her attractions he developed 
scruples as to the validity of his marriage with Katharine. 
It is beyond the scope of this work to trace the pro- 
ceedings in connection with the divorce and his rupture 
with the Pope. Henry threw off the Papal supremacy, but 
it was only to assume it himself, and he never sympathised 
with the doctrines of the Reformation. As far as he 
himself was concerned, he was an unintentional promoter 
of it as a religious movement, and there is room for the 
satirical lines of Gray, who speaks of his reign as a time 

When love could teach a monarch to be wise, 
And Gospel light first dawned from Boleyn's eyes. 

The religious progress of the Reformation is to be 
found in the history of the reigns of his three children. 
That of Edward VI. was marked by much solid work, 
especially in the two editions of the Prayer Book in Eng- 
lish, but it was marred by a spoliation of Church property 
which equalled, if it did not surpass, the suppression of 


the monasteries in Henry's time. Then came the re-action 
of Mary's reign the effort to restore mediaeval doctrines 
and usages, and to heal the breach with the Papacy, but 
the time had gone by when this was possible, and the 
attempt to check the rising tide only added to its force 
when Mary passed away and Elizabeth succeeded to the 
throne. Her long and prosperous reign brought com- 
parative peace both to Church and State. Under her 
strong hand, and by the wise counsels of her advisers, 
discordant elements were brought into a measure of har- 
mony, and the reformed religion was generally accepted 
as that of the nation. 

As to the question how the Reformation movement 
affected Shropshire, and what part the county took in it, 
the answer is difficult, for the materials are scanty. The 
answer, however, lies in the direction of what we have 
seen in connection with Lollardry. The West Midlands 
were largely leavened with the Reformed opinions, but 
the people of Shropshire have never been made of the 
stuff out of which martyrs are manufactured ; and so all 
through the Reformation period they were largely content 
to go quietly on their way, letting others alone, and asking 
only to be let alone themselves. 

As far as can be gathered from a cursory study of 
Foxe's Acts and Monuments, although it is often difficult 
to pick out facts from his prolix narrative, Shropshire 
furnished, with perhaps two doubtful exceptions, 1 no 
contingent to the martyrs who fed the flames of Smithfield 
or elsewhere ; while the record of the Churches of Shrews- 
bury tells us of vicars undisturbed in their duties all 
through the period of change. 2 In 1547, indeed, there 
was a burning in the Market Square of that town. Its 
victims, however, were not of flesh and blood, but only 

1 Acts and Monuments (edition 1842), vol. v., p. 550, and vol. vii., 
p. 402. Compare Sh.roflsh.ire Archaological Society's Transaction!, vol. in., 
p. 258, and Fuller's Worthies (edition 1811), vol. ii., p. 256. 

2 Cf. the Author's Shrewsbury, p. 140. 


" the pycture of our Lady owt of St. Mary's, and the 
pycture of Mary Mawdelen, and the pycture of St. Chaddes 
owt of Sainct Chadd's church in the same towne." 1 

This was done in obedience to an injunction issued 
under the authority of Edward VI., soon after his acces- 
sion, and throws light on the attitude which seems to have 
prevailed in the county towards the various changes made. 
It was an attitude on the part of the people generally of 
something not far removed from indifference ; they were 
content to obey orders and accept changes from the 
ruling power, but they had no strong feeling about the 
matter either way. This attitude is traceable in the acts 
of the municipal authorities, as, for example, in regard to 
the dissolution of the monasteries. The Shrewsbury 
Corporation apparently accepted the fiat of the king for 
dissolving their great Abbey as a matter of course, but 
they petitioned that, being dissolved, it should be utilized 
either as a house of reception for distinguished visitors or 
as a school. They did not oppose ; they only desired that 
the town might be benefited by the change when it was 
made. So with the spoliation of the Church goods under 
Edward VI. ; no doubt there were murmurs, but there is 
no trace of active opposition. 

It is not intended by this to imply that individuals did 
not feel strongly on both sides, or did not give expression 
to their feelings on occasion ; and no better illustration 
can be given of this attitude of individuals than the well- 
known story of the death of Edward Burton, of Longner, 
as related in Phillips's History of Shrewsbury 

Edward Burton was a zealous asscrtor of the Gospel all Queen Mary's 
days . . . He one day sitting in his parlour alone, meditating on the 
troubles of the times, and the deliverances he and others had found 
though many had suffered, while he was thus reflecting, he heard a general 
ringing of all the bells in Shrewsbury, which he concluded must be for the 
accession of the Lady Elizabeth to the throne, by the death of Queen Mary. 
Longing to know the truth, and not daring to send any of his servants 

1 Shropshire Archaeological Society's Transitions, vol. iiL, p. 258. 


to enquire, he sent his eldest son, a youth about sixteen years of age, 
ordering him, if the bells rang for the Lady Elizabeth's accession, to 
throw his hat up into the air at some place from whence he might see it, 
to gratify his expectation. The young man, finding it was as expected, 
threw up his hat, which his father seeing, was suddenly affected with 
such extremity of joy for the liberty and comfort God's people had a 
prospect of, that he retired from the window where he saw the sign, with 
difficulty gained a chair, and immediately expired. By his last will he 
ordered that his body should be buried in the Parish Church of St. Chad 
in Shrewsbury, and that no Mass-monger should be present at his inter- 
ment. His friends, designing to execute his will in this respect, brought 
his corpse to the church, and were there met by the Curate, Mr. John 
Marshall, who said that Mr. Burton was an heretic, and should not be 
buried in his church. One of Mr. Burton's friends replied, "As to his 
being an heretic, God would judge at the last day." The Curate replied, 
" Judge God or judge Devil, he shall not be buried in this Church." 
His friends were obliged to carry his body back again and bury it in his 
own garden. His epitaph declares that he 

Truly professing Christianity, 

Was like Christ Jesus in a garden laid, 

Where he shall rest in Peace, till it be said, 

" Come, faithful Servant, come receive with Me 

A just reward for thy Integrity." 

We pass on to the later developments of the 
Reformation movement. When the reign of Elizabeth 
was drawing to a close, there were in England three 
religious parties whose differences were becoming 
more and more accentuated, though the spirit of 
active persecution was gradually dying out. There 
were, first, those who had never accepted the change 
of doctrine and still owned allegiance to the Pope. 
Alongside of these were the adherents of the 
Reformed Faith, who accepted as its best exponent 
the formularies of the English Church and Episcopacy as 
its proper form of government. But under the influence 
of the Continental Reformers a third party had grown 
up. These desired a more entire break with the past, 
for which they had no reverence, and they could not 
tolerate anything that was held in common with Rome, 
however useful or harmless in itself. It might be 
episcopacy, or it might be the use of a vestment, or of 


a Liturgy, but in their eyes all such usages alike were 
tainted with superstition. 

The members of this party at first were few in number, 
and confined to those who possessed little influence, but 
as time went on this was changed. Men of position and 
character threw in their adhesion to these principles, and 
they gained weight indirectly from another cause. 

From the time when the Stuarts came to the throne 
there began to be an increasing divergence of personal 
character between those whose religion was that of the 
Court and those who were removed from its influence. The 
people began to contrast more and more the loose lives 
of men in high places with the strict lives of those whose 
revolt from Rome was most complete. The members of 
this party called themselves Precisians, but that name was 
lost in the nickname of Puritans, and they claimed to seek 
a high ideal of personal life. This had weight with others. 
The Puritan might be solemn and sour in his demeanour, 
but he lived a moral life ; he might despise the sports in 
which others found delight, but his motive was religious, 
and as such it won respect. 

Meanwhile a parallel divergence was going on in the 
State. The party of those who adopted the doctrine and 
discipline of the Reformed Church of England were for 
the most part strong also in their attachment to the 
Monarchy. The Puritan party, who gradually separated 
themselves from the Church as Nonconformists, were 
largely imbued with a desire for increased political as 
well as religious liberty, and in many cases favoured a 
Republican form of government. 

These differences, as everyone knows, went on increas- 
ing until they culminated in civil war. The effects of that 
war on Shropshire in its political aspect form the subject of 
another chapter. We have only here to do with its effects 
viewed from the religious standpoint. 

When, on January 3Oth, 1649, the head of Charles I. 
fell on the scaffold of Whitehall, it marked not only the 


triumph of Republicanism over Monarchy, but the triumph 
of Puritanism over the Church, for parallel with encroach- 
ments on the prerogative of the king, which ended in his 
death, there had been going on the enforcement of 
changes in the Established Church. 

In 1643 the Parliament passed a Bill for the abolition 
of Episcopacy, and this was followed by the appointment 
of the Westminster Assembly, who undertook the revising 
of the Church formularies. Ministers were ejected from 
their cures as " scandalous " or " malignant," and funds 
were raised by the sale of Church property. In January, 
1645, the use of the Prayer Book was made penal, and 
the Directory for Public Worship substituted. 

At first, indeed, Puritanism seemed satisfied with 
changes that arose naturally out of the adoption of Presby- 
terianism and its dread of everything that savoured of 
Rome, but by degrees the power passed out of the hands of 
the Presbyterians into those of the Independents, with the 
result of increased narrowness and intolerance. Meanwhile, 
however, the inevitable reaction set in. The execution of 
Charles had shown to what length the Parliamentary party 
could go in regard to the State, as that of Archbishop 
Laud had shown in regard to the Church, and when 
the power fell from the strong hand of Oliver Cromwell 
into that of his son, the public opinion of the country 
was ready to hail with delight the restoration of the old 
order in both. Then came retaliation, the first step in 
which was the passing of the Act of Uniformity, by which 
in turn the Presbyterian Incumbents of the Churches were 
ejected in favour of the old Vicars if still living, or of 
others episcopally ordained. The comparative blame on 
each side in this matter of ejection, it need not be said, 
has been a subject of fierce controversy, but surely at this 
time we may learn to look on it calmly. It seems clear 
from a study on the one hand of Walker's Sufferings of 
the Clergy, and on the other of Calamy's Nonconformists' 
Memorial, that there were at least as many episcopal 


ministers deprived by the Puritans in the Commonwealth 
as there were Presbyterians deprived at the Restoration. 

In Shropshire there were examples of both, but a study 
of the Parish Registers of the period, and a consideration 
of the prevailing political sentiment as shown in other 
ways, goes to show that feelings were in this case, as in 
the Reformation period, less strongly stirred in this part 
of the West than in the further Midlands and the East ; 
and that, as a whole, Salopians were fairly content to live 
and let live. This is shown for example in the numerous 
instances in the Parish Registers in which the same 
Parochial Incumbent went on through the various changes, 
and the regard of his parishioners was shown by his being 
requested still to keep the Registers when the Parliament 
ordained the appointment of an official for that purpose. 

But we have other proofs beyond this. In 1646 a 
system was inaugurated which was intended to establish 
Presbyterianism. Instead of the existing divisions into 
dioceses, archdeaconries, and rural deaneries, the parishes 
were grouped in classes, and the names which occur in 
connection with these classes throw considerable light on 
the public opinion of any particular district. It appears 
from the list published in 1647 that the County of Salop 
was divided into six " Classicall Presbyteries," of which the 
first included the parishes of Shrewsbury and the neigh- 
bourhood, the second those round Oswestry, the third 
Bridgnorth, the fourth Wem, the fifth Ludlow, and the 
sixth Stretton. A particular case will best illustrate the 
position of affairs. In the list of Puritan nominations to 
livings, to be found in the Journal of the Parliament, occurs 
under the date of June 5th, 1648, the presentation of James 
Cressett to Cound void by the death of Richard Wood. 1 
A generation before this, Edward Cressett, of Upton 
Cressett, near Bridgnorth, three of whose ancestors had 
been Sheriff of the county, married the heiress of Sir Henry 

1 Shaw's Church under the Commonwealth, vol. ii., p. 257. 


Townsend of Cound, and came into that property, though 
he retained his seat at Cotes in his old neighbourhood. 
He had a numerous family, of whom James was the fourth 
son. This James was educated at Oriel College, Oxford, 
and married a daughter of John Edwards, of Middleton 
Scriven. 1 He was apparently a comparatively young man 
when he was appointed "Minister" of Cound in 1648. 

On turning to the list of the Shropshire " Classes," we 
find among the list of laymen " fit to bee of the fifth 
Classis," " Edward Cresset of Cotes, gent.," 2 showing that 
other members of the family sympathized with the Par- 
liament in religious matters, and no doubt used their 
influence for the promotion of their relative. 

We now turn to the Register Books of Cound Church, 
and there, under 1662, we find two entries. The first 
is this : 

Ye 3<1 day of August Mr. James Cressett, Rector of Cund, did pub- 
likely in ye time of Divine service read ye 39 Articles of ye Church of 
England, and declared hia unfeyned assent to ye same, according to ye 
Statute in that case provided. Witnesses hereunto [five signatures]. 

The second entry is as follows : 

The i7th day of August, 1662. Mr. James Cressett, Rector of Cond, 
the same Lord's Day, in time of Divine Service, publiquely read the 
declaration in the Act for Uniformitie expressed touching the Unlawfulnes 
of the Covenant after the reading of his Certificat of his Subscription 
to the aforesaid declaration, and did the same day solemnely and pub- 
liquely read the Morning and Evening Prayer appointed to be read by the 
said Act, and did declare his unfeigned assent and consent thereunto, and 
to everything therein conteined. In pr'sence and heareing of [five signa- 
tures, including Robt. Cressett (his nephew)]. 

The Act of Uniformity had required all Ministers to 
assent to the Prayer Book, and repudiate the Covenant 
on pain of immediate ejection from their Benefices, with 
the further important addition that those who had not 

1 Herald? Visitation of Shropshire (Harleian Society), vol. i., p. 158. 

2 Shaw's Church under the Commonwealth, vol. ii., p. 411. 


been episcopally ordained must immediately seek orders 
at the hand of some bishop. 

The extracts just given with regard to James Cressett 
enable us to trace his career with tolerable certainty, and it 
may be taken as typical of many. It shows that the 
Puritan ministers were not necessarily of an inferior social 
position to those they displaced ; and also that the 
authorities in London were willing to be guided by local 
opinion and family preferences. As there is no record 
of James Cressett's seeking episcopal ordination at the 
Restoration, it seems probable that he was episcopally 
ordained before his admission in 1648. And, lastly, the 
record of his conforming, whether accompanied by re- 
ordination or not, presents him as typical of those of 
whom there were certainly a considerable number in this 
part of England who had sympathized with much that 
the Parliament had done, but had none of that zeal for 
self-sacrifice which led others to face poverty and persecu- 
tion rather than conform. 

The number of Presbyterian ministers throughout the 
county who either resigned their livings in 1660 or were 
ejected in 1662, appears to be thirty -nine, 1 and among 
them were some whose departure was a distinct loss to 
the Church men like John Bryan and Francis Tallents, 
of Shrewsbury, Rowland Nevett, of Oswestry, and Joshua 
Barnet, of Wrockwardine, not to mention others ; but no 
account of Puritanism in Shropshire would be complete 
without some notice of the most conspicuous of her Puritan 
sons, though he was not actually beneficed within her 
borders namely, Richard Baxter. 

Baxter was born in 1615 in the parish of High Ercall, 
where the register of his baptism is as follows -. 

Richard sonne and heyre of Richard Baxter of Eaton Constantync, 
gent, and of Beatrice his wief baptised the xixth of November 1615. 

1 I am indebted for this calculation to the writer of the chapter on the 
Civil War, who has made a special study of the period. 


He appears from childhood to have been weak and 
uncertain in health, and this fact gave seriousness to his 
character. As he expressed it, " Weakness and pain helped 
me to study how to die : that set me on studying how to 
live." He spent some time at the school at Donnington, in 
the next parish to Eaton Constantine, but he tells us that 
his education was very defective, and that he had mainly 
taught himself. His family belonged to the Church, but 
he draws a sad picture of the clergy in the Shropshire 
parishes around his home, and of the way in which the 
Sundays were spent during the regime of the Book of 
Sports. It is evident that the better lives of the Puritans 
attracted him from an early period, and influenced all his 
later life. In 1638 he received episcopal ordination from 
the Bishop of Worcester, and he became Master of the 
Grammar School at Dudley. His first ministerial charge 
was at Bridgnorth, to the inhabitants of which he dedicated 
his Saints' Rest. In 1640, however, he moved to Kidder- 
minster as assistant to the old vicar of that town, and for 
the next two years his work there met with much success. 
On the breaking out of the Civil War he acted for some 
time as chaplain in the Parliamentary army, where he used 
his influence to mitigate the extreme views, both in religion 
and politics, which were beginning to take possession of 
the soldiery. He was soon, however, glad to return to 
Kidderminster, which was his home for the next fourteen 

During this time he exercised great influence not only 
in the town but over a wide district. He was the 
recognized adviser of the Puritan party all through the 
West Midlands, and practically exercised episcopal control 
over the ministers and their congregations. His influence 
was always exerted on the side of moderation and toler- 
ance, and when Cromwell assumed the supreme power, 
Baxter did not hesitate to tell him to his face that " the 
honest people of the land took their ancient monarchy to 
be a blessing and not an evil." 


At the Restoration he was made one of the King's 
chaplains, and was offered the Bishopric of Hereford, but 
he declined it. It is interesting to note that if his decision 
had been otherwise, half of Shropshire would have been 
under his episcopal charge. 

The Act of Uniformity of 1662 brought him trouble, 
for he could not make up his mind to conform, and so he 
left Kidderminster; but that year also brought him the 
greatest comfort of the next twenty years of his career, 
namely, a wife. Some time before, after the partial 
destruction of Apley Castle in the war, Margaret Charlton 
had come to live at Kidderminster with her mother, and so 
the two whose early homes had both been under the 
shadow of the Wrekin, became acquainted. Baxter was 
considerably the older, being not far short of fifty, whereas 
she was little more than twenty ; but her heart had gone 
out to the pastor who had helped her in spiritual things, 
and when he had stipulated on the one hand that marriage 
should not interfere with his ministerial work, and on the 
other that her property should be secured to her, they 
were married. It proved a singularly happy union, though 
they had many trials to face together. 

Not very long after their wedding Baxter spent some 
time in prison, but his wife shared his incarceration, which 
was not very severe, and he said of her : " My wife was 
never so cheerful a companion to me as in prison ; and she 
had brought so many necessaries that we kept house as 
contentedly and comfortably as at home." He unfor- 
tunately lost her in 1681, and he was left to face his 
troubles alone. 

In 1685 some passages in his Paraphrase on the New 
Testament were held to be seditious, and he was tried by 
Judge Jeffreys, who took the opportunity of insulting and 
browbeating the old man after his fashion. He was con- 
demned and sentenced to pay a heavy fine, with imprison- 
ment till he did so, but through the exertions of Lord 
Powis, the fine was remitted, and after an imprisonment 


of eighteen months he was released. The remaining five 
years of his life were undisturbed. Years before, at 
Kidderminster, he had written the book by which he is 
best remembered The. Saints' Everlasting Rest; and in 
December, 1691, he was called himself to enter into that 
Rest, which he had long desired, and for which his book 
has helped to prepare many, both in his lifetime and the 
generations since. 

It may be said of Baxter that in many respects he was 
typical of the Salopian way of looking at things : resolute 
when principle was involved, but prepared to tolerate those 
who could not see things as he saw them ; ready to give 
as well as to take, and growing ever gentler as age drew 
on. In a passage in his Autobiography, he sums up his 
experience of life in words which may well end this review 
of the time in which he lived : 

I now see more good and more evil in all men than heretofore I did. 
I see that good men are not so good as I once thought they were, but 
have more imperfections : and that nearer approach and fuller trial doth 
make the best appear more weak and faulty than their admirers at a 
distance think. And I find that few are so bad as either malicious enemies 
or censorious separating professors do imagine. Even in the wicked, 
usually there is more for grace to make advantage of, and more to testifie 
for God and holiness, than I once believed there had been. 


These two religious movements are grouped together, 
not as connected in time, but in the leading idea which 
gave rise to and pervaded both. Each had its origin in 
mysticism. George Fox went up and down the country 
preaching that there was an inward light which illumined 
the individual soul, and had no need of external Church 
organizations ; John Wesley having drunk from the foun- 
tain of mysticism in his Oxford days went up and down 
preaching the doctrine of individual conversion by the 
direct agency of the Spirit ; and though he was himself a 


pre-eminent organizer, all the rules he laid down for his 
followers were subservient to this prevailing idea. 

Quakerism began in the Puritan period. Fox, its 
founder, was born in Leicestershire in 1624. Naturally 
of a meditative disposition, his religious convictions 
deepened until he became impressed with the idea that he 
must forsake all, and devote himself to the promulgation 
of what appeared to him a revelation of new truth. 
Accordingly he wandered from place to place, Bible in 
hand, prepared to preach wherever he could find an 
audience ; and he was specially ready to bear his testimony 
in the interruption of any service conducted by one whom 
he regarded as a mere outward " professor " ; for he was 
a thorough Puritan both in this and in his hatred of 
" steeple houses " and bells. His views, however, went 
further than religion ; he wished to remodel society. He 
declared that the Lord forbade him to put off his hat to 
any, high or low, and required him to address even the 
greatest with thee and thou. The natural result was that 
he found himself in perpetual conflict with the authorities, 
both civil and religious, and he was well acquainted with 
the inside of prisons. His tenets met with no more favour 
from the Puritans than from the Church party, and even 
the gentle and tolerant Baxter could not find anything to 
say in their favour. 

Strange, however, as it may seem, Fox met with great 
success, and gained many adherents, particularly in the 
northern part of England, a success which was no doubt 
helped by the persecutions he met with and the northern 
love of fair play. He also had a large number of 
adherents in Wales. 

As regards Shropshire, which he visited in 1657 and 
1667, though he appears to have secured a considerable 
following in some parts, particularly in the Coalbrookdale 
district and the Welsh border, his tenets do not seem to 
have taken a very firm hold. There is, indeed, more than 
one record of Shrewsbury prison being tenanted by 


Quakers, but in every instance they seem, by their per- 
sistent opposition to authority, to have brought the fate 
on themselves. From the beginning there was close union 
between the Society in Shropshire and in the neighbouring 
part of Wales, and in 1669 it was agreed by "representa- 
tives from ye several Meetings in Shropshire, Montgomery- 
shire, and Merionethshire," to purchase " a Meeting Room 
and an enclosure for a burying place " in Shrewsbury. The 
site chosen was on St. John's Hill, and a meeting place 
was erected there. This underwent rebuilding in the 
middle of the eighteenth century, and again in 1805, and 
is now used for the offices of the Atcham Union. The 
last interment in the little burial ground adjoining seems 
to have taken place from Coalbrookedale in 1834. 

An extract from one of the earlier Registers of this 
meeting house will serve to illustrate several points in 
connection with the Quakers as a whole, and as they 
existed in this county. It occurs under the year 1680-. 

Md. James Farmer proposed his purpose of marriage with Elizabeth 
Jordan, the xxth of the loth month last, which was consented unto. 
And allso this i7th of nth month, 1680, he hath satisfyed frends con- 
cerning making over pt. of his estate to his children which he had by his 
former wife. 

This memorandum is followed by the marriage register 

James Farmer, of ye pish, of Cound, yeoman, and Elizabeth Jordan 
of Tuexbury co. Glosester, spinster, dau. of Tho. Jordan, of Stoke 
Archard, yeoman, i3th day, rath mo. called February, in public meeting 
house of Tuexbury. 

In illustration of what has already been said, it will 
be noticed that the entry speaks of the society by their 
proper title of Friends, Quakers having been only a nick- 
name ; and it illustrates their peculiar phraseology, Fox 
having laid it down that the days of the week and the 
month should not be spoken of by the ordinary names, 
which he regarded as heathenish. It also shows the social 
class which largely recruited the ranks of the sect, and in 


particular mentions the family of Farmer, who were among 
the most prominent members in this county. It alludes, 
besides, to what became a distinguishing characteristic of 
the Quakers, namely, the exercise of philanthropy : before 
James Farmer might take on himself new responsibilities, 
the Friends required to be assured that he had cared for 
his first family. This contained in germ that esprit de 
corps that care for the needs of their poorer brethren for 
which the Society of Friends has always been remarkable. 
The entry also incidentally emphasizes the fact that the 
year formerly began in March, not in January: February 
is spoken of as the twelfth month instead of the second. 1 

We now pass to the more important and more wide- 
spread movement inaugurated by Wesley. This is not 
the place to attempt an estimate of John Wesley's work 
as a whole, or to decide his true place in the ecclesiastical 
history of the eighteenth century. Opinions will always be 
divided as to the relative blame to be attached to him and 
to the authorities of the English Church for the fact that 
his movement developed into a separate denomination 
against his clearly expressed wish, but a calm study of the 
matter shows that, as usual, there was fault on both sides. 
The dread of what was called enthusiasm was the 
bugbear of the eighteenth century in all directions, the 
inevitable result being a decay of earnestness; and 
Wesley's attempt to awaken the sleepers only shared the 
treatment which fell to the lot of all the leaders of the 
Evangelical movement. 

It must always be a matter of regret that the Church 
authorities could not better read the signs of the times 
it was a great opportunity lost of utilizing a zeal which 
had in it infinite possibilities for good ; but on the other 

1 The position and influence o Quaker families in the county in the 
first half of the eighteenth century is evidenced by the fact that in 1718, 
and again in 1727, Shrewsbury was chosen as the meeting place for mem- 
bers of the body from all parts of England. Phillips, History of Shrews- 
bury, p. 212. 


hand Wesley, in his later days, was led into adopting a 
policy that made his position as a Churchman really un- 
tenable. When, in 1784, he took the step of ordaining his 
preachers by the laying on of his own hands, he made 
a breach which any wish on his part to the contrary could 
not prevent from widening into permanent separation. It 
was a step which met with the strong disapproval of 
his brother Charles, and called forth from him the well- 
known epigram : 

How easy now are bishops made 

At man or woman's whim ; 
Wesley his hand on Coke hath laid, 

But who laid hands on him? 

It is not necessary, however, to approve every act of 
John Wesley in order to value the great work he did for 
the revival of earnest personal religion. Probably no one 
since the days of St. Paul was " in labours more abundant." 
If anyone will take the trouble of analysing his Journal 
on almost any page at which he may open it, tracing out 
the distances travelled almost always on horseback and 
the number of sermons preached, he will wonder first at 
the physical strength he displayed ; and when he remem- 
bers that Wesley's sermons were intended to arouse, and 
therefore involved an earnest delivery, and that, moreover, 
they were delivered to all sorts of audiences under all sorts 
of difficult circumstances sometimes in crowded and ill- 
ventilated rooms, and sometimes out of doors to great 
crowds, who were often more or less hostile he will 
wonder how mind as well as body bore the strain. And 
it must also be recollected that Wesley took his share in 
literary work. The energy with which he did this may be 
illustrated by a single extract : 

I now applied myself in earnest to the writing of Mr. Fletcher's life, 
having procured the best materials I could. To this I dedicated all the 
time I could spare till November, from five" in the morning till eight at 
night. These are my studying hours ; I cannot write longer in a day 
without hurting my eyes. 


At this time he was eighty-three years old. 1 
His Journal records no less than eighteen visits to 
Shrewsbury, the first in 1761, and the last in 1790, and in 
almost every case he preached at some other place in the 
county as well. Wem and Whitchurch on the one side, 
and Broseley and Madeley on the other, received several 
visits from him. There is no record on any of these visits 
of anything like the insults he met with in some places ; 
nothing worse than that on one occasion he says : 

I came to Shrewsbury between five and six, and preached to a large and 
quiet congregation. As we returned the rabble were noisy enough ; but 
they used only their tongues ; so all was well.2 

The permanent success he met with is attested by the 
fact that Shrewsbury was made the head of a circuit as 
early as 1765, when there was a roll of 587 members, and 
as he speaks of the pleasure with which he stayed at other 
places in the county, the whole number of adherents within 
its borders must have been considerable. 

Two helpers in immediate connection with Shrewsbury 
must be mentioned. One was Mrs. Glynne, a lady of 
good position who lived on Dogpole, and used her ample 
means for the promotion of the cause in which she was 
interested. It was she who in 1762 sent him in a post- 
chaise to Wem to keep an engagement there, but the 
roads were so bad with mud and snow that the horses 
broke their traces, and he and his companions had diffi- 
culty in making the journey at all ; and the Journal men- 
tions many other instances of her kindness. She lived till 
1799, and there is a tablet to her memory in St. Julian's 
Church. The other helper was John Appleton, who had 
made a considerable fortune as a currier. In 1761 he fitted 
up the old Hall of the Shearmen, near to St. Julian's 
Church, as a Methodist Chapel at his own expense, and 
twenty years later he, also at his own expense, built a new 
Chapel in Hill's Lane, which Wesley himself came to open 

1 September, 1786. 2 March, 1769. 


on March 27th, 1781. Three years later he came again 
to preach Appleton's funeral sermon. 

The cause of Methodism was also helped by Captain 
Jonathan Scott, of Betton, by Sir Richard Hill, of Hawk- 
stone, and others, but it owed most of all to Rev. John 
Fletcher, Vicar of Madeley. Others came and went, 
preaching and then passing on, but Fletcher lived in the 
middle of the county as a parochial clergyman for twenty- 
five years, and so had a more abiding local influence. 
Fletcher not only preached, but year after year lived, as it 
were within the sight of all, the higher life to which he 
invited them. If Wesley represented St. Paul, it was 
Fletcher who represented the more loving spirit of 
St. John ; nay, it is said that when Voltaire was challenged 
to produce a character as perfect as Jesus Christ, he at 
once mentioned Fletcher, of Madeley. 1 Born in Switzer- 
land of a military family, and himself a soldier for a few 
years, he came into Shropshire about 1752 as Tutor to 
the two sons of Mr. Thomas Hill, of Tern Hall (now 
Attingham), at that time M.P. for Shrewsbury. Here he 
became attracted by the earnestness of Methodism, and 
determined to seek Holy Orders. He was accordingly 
ordained Deacon and Priest on two consecutive Sundays in 
1757, and in 1761 was presented by Mr. Hill to Madeley, 
having previously refused an offer from him of another 
living, better in value, but with less work. 

Madeley was at the time probably one of the roughest 
villages in Shropshire, the inhabitants being mostly colliers, 
and Fletcher at first by no means found it a bed of roses, 
but his efforts and his personal character gradually made 
themselves felt, until he was universally respected and 

Wesley and he became bosom friends. In recording 
his first visit to Madeley, in July, 1764, Wesley's Journal 

1 Abbey and OTerton's English Church in the Eighteenth Century, 
vol. ii., p. 113. 


clearly expresses the delight which he felt in the meeting. 
He says : 

We went on to Madeley, an exceeding pleasant village, encompassed 
with trees and hills. [Wesley very rarely noticed scenery.] It was a 
great comfort to me to converse with a Methodist of the old stamp, deny- 
ing himself, taking up his cross, and resolved to be altogether a Christian. 

This meeting was the first of many, and there was 
probably no place in England to which Wesley's heart 
turned more fondly than to Madeley Vicarage. Fletcher, 
however, had no such iron constitution as Wesley, and he 
did not know when to pause in his labours. The result 
was that he broke down from overwork, and though he 
recovered for a time, he sank under the strain. The 
account by his wife of his last Sunday may be given in 
her own words, as it shows not only his character and the 
earnestness of his work, but also throws light on the services 
of the Church as conducted in the last quarter of the 
eighteenth century. Having mentioned that he refused 
the proffered help of a neighbouring clergyman, and that 
having opened the " reading service " with apparent 
strength, he soon found it difficult to proceed, but that in 
the sermon he seemed to forget his weakness, the account 
goes on : 

After sermon, he walked up to the communion table, uttering these 
words, " I am going to throw 1 myself under the wings of the cherubim, 
before the mercy seat." Here the same distressing scene was renewed 
with additional solemnity. The people were deeply affected while they 
beheld him offering up the last languid remains of a life that had been 
lavishly spent in their service. In going through this last part of his 
duty, he was exhausted again and again ; but his spiritual vigour triumphed 
over his bodily weakness. After several times sinking on the sacramental 
table, he still resumed his sacred work, and cheerfully distributed with 
his dying hand the love memorials of his dying Lord. In the course of 
this concluding office, which he performed by means of the most astonish- 
ing exertions, he gave out several verses of hymns, and delivered many 
affectionate exhortations to his people, calling upon them at intervals to 
celebrate the mercy of God in short songs of adoration and praise. And 
now, having struggled through a service of near four hours' continuance, 
he was supported, with blessings in his mouth, from the altar to his 


chamber, where he lay for some time in a swoon, and from whence he 
never walked into the world again. 

He died the following Sunday, August I4th, 1785. This 
narrative of the last scene in the life of perhaps 
the most saintly man which Shropshire has either produced 
or possessed in any era of its history, may fitly close this 
sketch of the great religious movements that from time 
to time have swept across its borders. It is but a sketch, 
and the necessary omissions are many, but it may serve 
to show not only how the religious character of Salopians 
has been built up, but by what various means and agencies 
some of them apparently inconsistent with each other 
the result has been accomplished. 

Time bringeth changes : systems rise 

Do their appointed work and fall : 

God hath His purpose in them all : 
He changeth not : and He is wise. 




(Author of Shropshire Folk-Lore^ and a Vice-President of the 
Folk-Lore Society) 

(HEN the folk-lore of Shropshire was first 
brought before the world, some twenty-three 
years ago, general surprise was expressed 
at the amount of old custom and superstition 
still prevailing there. Would that be the case now? It 
is doubtful. So much has since been recorded of other 
counties that Salop has been to a great extent "levelled 
up " ; besides which, the lapse of a quarter of a century 
has beyond question effaced much old tradition. 

The social disintegration consequent on the economic 
changes of the nineteenth century has done its work on 
folk-lore throughout England. What was living flourish- 
ing custom in the beginning of the century had already 
become a mere shattered group of survivals at its end, 
while now it is scarcely even that. With custom has gone 
much of that which social customs enshrine and preserve 
the stories, the songs, the riddles, the dramas, the games, 
for which the old-fashioned social gatherings gave occa- 
sion, and which naturally die out when the demand for 
them ceases. 

But only two years ago the Secretary of the 
Folk-lore Society was desired to take the first throw 
at a " cocoa-nut shy " on the Wrekin, on the ground that 
he, being a dark-haired man, would bring luck to the 



owner, whereas the fair-haired little girl who had been 
put forward for the purpose would have the contrary 
effect. The proprietress, spitting on the coin he gave in 
payment for the privilege, assured him that she " had 
taken pertikler notice," and that there was " a deal in " the 
personality of the first customer as securing good or bad 
trade. For though customs decay, superstition still lives. 
It may be weakened by the spread of education and the 
increased facilities for travel of modern days, but it has 
its roots deep down in human nature in fear, affection, 
greed, curiosity, credulity and it can only change as 
human nature changes. Until scientific methods of 
observation and reasoning prevail in every stratum of 
the population, superstition will never die. Post hoc, 
propter hoc, will still be argued. Tenterden Steeple will 
be supposed to cause Goodwin Sands ; bad neighbours will 
be credited with bringing evil upon cattle and crops ; 
superstitious fears will cause recourse to superstitious pre- 
cautions ; demand will create supply, and persons will be 
found to supply charms and magical formulas suited to all 
kinds of misfortunes, from a sick pig to a lost lover. And 
so long as medical advice must be paid for, while the village 
blacksmith or the old man at the woodland cottage refuses 
even to accept thanks for the remedies he gives, so long 
will the minor ailments to which flesh is heir be liable to 
be treated by the charmer rather than by the qualified 

But in all this there is nothing peculiarly Salopian. 
Fuller acquaintance with folk-lore shows that the same 
kinds of superstitious beliefs and practices are practically 
common to all England ; nay, to the British Isles. Even 
the words of the charming formulas are practically 
identical in widely-separated districts. The common 
toothache charm " Peter stood at the gates of Jerusalem," 
etc., recovered at Baschurch (among other places) in 1879, 
re-appeared in the Hebrides in 1904, and occurs among 
the Anglo-Saxon Leechdoms (Cockayne iii. 64) of the 


eighth century. How can this be claimed as local folk- 
lore anywhere? Again, wherever throughout Europe the 
belief in witchcraft prevails (and where does it not?), we 
find that the witches form a secret society, renounce the 
national religion, hold midnight assemblies, are trans- 
formed into animals, steal milk, stop teams, cause sickness, 
and can only be defeated by opposing magic to magic ; so 
that wherever we find the witch we find the charmer also. 
Once more, wherever belief in a future life is found, belief 
in revenants is found with it, and in civilized and Christian 
countries still retains certain savage and heathen elements 
(such as transformation, malicious disposition, residence in 
certain spots, pursuit of wonted occupations), which are in 
sharp contrast to the orthodox teaching on the subject. 
Any local colouring there may be in local witch or ghost 
stories consists only in their minor features, in the frame- 
work of the social life reflected in them; such as the laws 
of inheritance, the tyrannical squires, the coaches-and-four, 
which occur in our English country ghost-stories. 

Among the wildest of these stories is that of " The 
Roaring Bull of Bagbury," which is told at Hyssington, on 
the borders of Salop and Montgomery. There was once a 
very bad man who lived at Bagbury Hall, who oppressed 
his labourers and gave them no beer. Only two good 
deeds were known of him throughout his life : namely, 
that he once gave an old waistcoat to a poor old man, and 
some bread and cheese to a poor boy. So after his death 
his ghost could not rest, and he came again in the farm 
buildings at Bagbury in the form of an enormous bull (a 
flayed bull, some said !). He roared so loudly and was so 
riotous that the tiles flew off the roofs and the shutters 
from the windows. He even came by daylight, and no 
one could live near him in peace. So it was decided to 
try and lay him. Twelve parsons were assembled with 
lighted candles, and they read and read till they got him 
safely into Hyssington Church. But there he made such a 
rush that all the candles were blown out except that of 


an old blind parson named Pigeon, who knew him, and 
was prepared for his violence, and sheltered his candle in 
his top-boot. On this the bull, who had become compara- 
tively small and tame, began to grow before their eyes, 
and swelled till he cracked the walls of the church. At 
last they got the candles re-lighted at Parson Pigeon's, and 
regained power over the bull, which gradually diminished 
as they read till he became so small and weak that he was 
imprisoned in a snuff-box. Then he parleyed, and peti- 
tioned that he might be laid under Bagbury Bridge, and 
might be allowed to cause every woman who passed over 
to lose her babe and every mare her foal. But this could 
not be conceded, and he was condemned to be laid in the 
Red Sea for a thousand years. Nevertheless, some think 
that he lies in an old shoe under the door-stone of 
Hyssington Church, and others dread passing over 
Bagbury Bridge, and tell of apparitions still to be seen in 
Bagbury Hall. 

Cross the county from west to south-east, from the 
Welsh hills to Severn-side. In Kinlet Church there is a 
monument to Sir George Blount and his wife, kneeling, 
with their children beside them. Sir George, who died in 
1584, was the last squire of his name. His only daughter 
married her father's page, so angering him thereby 
that he haunted them and their descendants for long after 
his death. He used to come riding out of a pool, still 
called Blount's Pool, terrifying the women who went to 
rinse their clothes there. He would drive his coach and 
four white horses over the dinner-table where his family 
were sitting, and so annoyed them that at last they pulled 
down the old Hall to get rid of him and rebuilt it on a new 
site, further from the church. The cellars are there still, 
full of barrels of ale and bottles of wine, but no one dare 
touch them for fear of angering the ghost, although he was 
laid in the sea long ago, by parsons reading with lighted 
candles till all were burnt out but one. And in a recess 
of his tomb there is (or was as lately as 1886) a small 


stoppered bottle which the village children regard with 
terror, for if anyone were to let it drop Old Blount would 
come again. 

A pathetic story is that told of " Madam Pigott." She 
was the wife of the last of the Pigotts of Chetwynd, in 
the north-east of Shropshirej on the confines of Stafford- 
shire; and she died in child-birth. Her husband longed 
for an heir, and when the doctors came to him and told 
him that mother and babe could not both survive, he 
bade them "lop the root to save the branch." Thus 
doomed to death before her time, her spirit could find 
no rest. Her husband went abroad ; the house was shut 
up and left to caretakers ; and she was seen in the gar- 
dens of the empty hall, a pale white figure wandering to 
and fro. " Never mind, child," said the housekeeper to her 
little niece, who in old age told the story, " it's only Madam 
Pigott Put your apron over your head when she goes 
by, and she will do you no harm." Others in later days 
said that she flew at midnight out of a trap-door in the 
roof of (old) Chetwynd Rectory ; she turned over a boulder 
in the lane between Chetwynd and Edgmond in the course 
of her nightly rambles ; she was frequently seen on moon- 
light nights sitting on the wall of Chetwynd Park where it 
abuts on Cheney Hill, combing her baby's hair ; so that 
the lane became known as " Madam Pigott's Hill," and a 
twisted tree-root on which she sometimes seated herself 
as " Madam Pigott's armchair." But not content with 
wandering and appearing, she would spring up en croupe 
behind belated riders, especially those who were going to 
"fetch the doctor" to assist at a birth, and ride behind 
them till they reached a running water; then she could 
go no further. So she had to be laid, with the usual 
ceremony of twelve parsons praying and reading Psalms 
till all the candles went out but one, which belonged to 
Mr. Foy, curate of Edgmond, 1 who succeeded in laying her. 

1 He died as long ago as 1816, but ghosts always continue to be a terror 
long after they have been " laid." 


The local gipsies say that she was first secured in a bottle, 
which was thrown into Chetwynd Pool, but the bottle was 
broken, and the ceremony had to be repeated ; when, in 
spite of her entreaties, she was laid in the Red Sea, and 
the neighbourhood had peace. But there is an oak-tree at 
the foot of Chetwynd Scaur which still shakes and quivers 
when all the other trees are still, because Madam Pigott 
shakes it in her nightly wanderings. 

None of these stories, or of hundreds like them which 
might be told, have any integral connection with the place 
where they are current The really local folk-lore of any 
district is that which is bound up with its local charac- 
teristics : its physical features, its past and present history, 
its economic possibilities, the racial descent of its inhabi- 
tants. These all combine to determine the character of 
its legends and the peculiarities of its customs. The 
marked and striking features of Shropshire scenery lend 
themselves especially to the growth of myths of origin, 
not unparalleled elsewhere, but attracted to the spot by 
local conditions. 

The Wrekin, the central point of the county, the motif 
of the county toast, " To all Friends round the Wrekin " 
(the rallying cry, as it might almost be called, of North 
and South), has been imagined to be the work of a baffled 
giant He had a grievance against the people of Shrews- 
bury, and determined to revenge himself by damming up 
the Severn and drowning them out. So he set out from 
his Welsh home, carrying a spadeful of earth for the 
purpose ; but the day grew hot, and he grew tired, and 
when he met a cobbler carrying a sack of old boots and 
shoes on his back, he asked how much farther he had 
to go. The cobbler, before answering the question, 
cautiously asked what he wanted at Shrewsbury, and on 
hearing his errand, replied, " Shrewsbury ! you'll never get 
to Shrewsbury, neither to-day nor to-morrow. Why, 
look at me! I've just come from Shrewsbury, and I've 
worn out all these boots and shoes on the road." The 


weary giant in despair threw down his load, scraped his 
boots on his spade, and returned home, leaving the two 
heaps the Wrekin and the little Ercall Hill beside it 
as memorials of his baffled plans. 

Another weary giant, no other than the Devil himself, 
tramped across the Stiperstones with his apron full of 
stones, and sat down to rest on the topmost crag ; but as 
he rose again to go his way, his apron-string broke, and 
scattered the stones over the hillside all round the Devil's 

There is another Giant's Chair on the Titterstone 
Clee ; a Giant's Shaft (i.e., arrow) on the Brown Clee ; a 
Giant's Grave on Llanymynech Hill ; while at View Edge 
and Norton Camp, two hills crowned with earthworks on 
either side of the river Onny, there lived two giants who 
kept their money in a chest in the vaults of Stokesay 
Castle, in the intervening valley. But they had only one 
key, which they threw backwards and forwards as they 
wanted it, till one day one of them threw it into the castle 
moat, whence it has never been recovered. But the 
treasure-chest stands in the vaults still, guarded by a raven 
perched on the top, who drives away all comers. 

On Stapeley Hill, an outlier of Corndon, in the far west 
of the county, stands a prehistoric stone circle known as 
Mitchell's Fold A " fold," in the speech of the country, 
means a farmyard ; Mitchell, from A. S. my eel, M. E. 
7>V^/=mickle or big: hence Mitchell's Fold = big yard 
or big man's yard Here "the" giant used to milk his 
cow, according to the legend current so far back as the 
middle of the eighteenth century. She was a beautiful 
large white animal, and gave milk sufficient for all comers 
so long as each person only brought one vessel to be 
filled. At last there came a malicious old witch, who 
milked the poor cow into a riddle (Anglic e, sieve), and 
exhausted the apparently unending supply. The cow, 
enraged by this treatment, fled madly into Warwickshire, 
where she became the celebrated Dun Cow of Warwick, 


and the poor people who had been used to depend on her 
milk were left to starve. " But the old witch was turned 
to stone, and the other stones were put up round her to 
keep her in, and they called it Mitchell's Fold, because 
her name was Mitchell." So the story ends nowadays, 
with a bit of folk-etymology. The giant has dropped out 
of it, but the earlier form of the story is evidently nearer 
the original. 

An outstanding rock on the scarp of Wenlock Edge 
is the traditional home of a ghostly highwayman or robber 
chief, who was buried in his own cave by a fall of the cliff, 
together with his outlaw band and their hoard of treasure. 
The mark of his golden chain may be seen on the rock. 
If anyone stands on the top of the cliff and cries 

Ippikin ! Ippikin ! 
Keep away with your long chin ! 

Ippikin (or Hipperkin) will appear, still wearing his 
golden chain, and sweep the insulting speaker over the 
precipice, to be dashed to pieces by the fall. 

The cave in Nesscliff Hill had a less mythical inhabi- 
tant, namely, Wild Humphrey Kynaston, a younger son of 
the Kynastons of Myddle Castle, who was outlawed appar- 
ently for murder, possibly for debt also, in 1491, and took 
refuge in this cave in the Marches beyond the reach of 
English law. Once when he had crossed the Severn the 
Sheriffs officers followed him, and removed some of the 
planks from Montford Bridge to cut off his escape; 
but he put his faithful horse to the leap and landed safely 
on the further side, where the King's writ did not run. 
The wonderful leap was long kept in memory by marks 
dug in the turf on Knockin Heath, and popular tradition 
now tells of "Kynaston's Leap" over the Severn, from 
Nesscliff Hill to Ellesmere, or even to the top of the 
Breidden Hill. The horse's hoof-mark is shown on the 
top of Nesscliff Hill, and the rider is said to have sold 
himself to the Devil. But Wild Humphrey remains in 


popular memory chiefly as the ideal outlaw who robbed the 
rich to give to the poor, who took off the leader from a 
team of three horses and hooked it on in front of a cart 
drawn by a single one ; who asked for drink at a neigh- 
bouring hall, tossed off the ale at a draught, and rode 
away with the silver cup in his pocket ; whose every want 
was supplied by the rich who feared him and the poor 
who loved him. His horse shares his fame. It grazed 
untethered freely on the open hillside, it came at his 
whistle, it was stabled with him in the cave at night, it 
was shod backwards that no one might track it ; it was, 
in fine, a supernatural creature, even perhaps the Devil 
himself in the shape of a horse ! It is rather characteristic 
of the ancient Marchland that our popular heroes should, 
for the most part, have been outlaws. 

Robin Hood, the national outlaw-hero, had no connec- 
tion with the county ; nevertheless, a great arrow on the 
roof of what was once the Fletchers' Chantry in Ludlow 
Church is supposed to have been shot by him from " Robin 
Hood's Butts," a tumulus in the Old Field. The same 
name is given to some tumuli on the Longmynd, and some 
stones near West Felton were known as Robin Hood's 
Chair, though the memory of Fulk ntzWarin of Whit- 
tington, the thirteenth century outlaw, has died out of 
popular tradition. 

Miners in long- worked mines often think they hear the 
knockers or the old men at work underground. The 
lead-miners of the Stiperstones identify these Old Men 
with the local Saxon champion, Wild Edric, and his fol- 
lowers, the last defenders of English freedom against the 
Norman invader, who live for ever in the depths of the 
hills. When war is about to break out, they appear, and 
may be seen riding over the hills. A strangely detailed 
account of such a vision before the Crimean War has been 
recorded, but, unfortunately, not at first-hand, and not till 
long afterwards. Except the famous case of the skeleton 
with golden armour found in a barrow at Mold, this is 



perhaps the oldest piece of oral historical tradition yet 
met with in England. 

The lakes or " meres " of the North Shropshire plain 
have their myths of origin and their supernatural inhabi- 
tants as well as the hills. Generally they are said to be 
bottomless; under many of them church bells may be 
heard ringing. Sometimes these are said to have been 
thrown there by wicked hands, and the story is told at 
Colemere and the Berth Pool, Baschurch, that attempts 


were made to recover them, but that when the oxen 
brought for the purpose had nearly succeeded in dragging 
them out, some bystander uttered an oath, on which the 
ropes broke and the bells fell back into the water. In 
other places (Bomere Pool and Llynclys) the bells are the 
relics of a city swallowed by a flood, by which the mere 
was formed. Ellesmere, the largest and perhaps the most 
beautiful of the meres, was caused by the avarice of an old 
woman, 1 who locked up her well to prevent her neighbours 

1 Otherwise, of a churlish farmer. 



taking the water. It bubbled up and overflowed till it 
drowned her cottage and land and formed the mere. Elles- 
mere still has a ghostly inhabitant, the White Lady of 
Oteley, who haunted a room in old Oteley House, on the 
very margin of the water, so incessantly, that when the 
house was pulled down (about 1830) and re-erected on a 
fresh site, a portion of it was left standing as a home for 
the ghost, which otherwise might have " flitted " with the 
stones. A paved causeway, traceable far under the mere, 
is still known as the Lady's Walk. The Black Pool, a 
" bottomless " pond close to the road between Longnor and 
Leebotwood, is the abode of another White Lady, who 
sometimes issued from it at night and wandered about the 
roads, and even on one occasion joined in the dancing 
in a neighbouring public-house garden. Her sudden dis- 
appearance betrayed her nature, and the party broke up 
terrified, nor did they venture to dance there again. Yet 
another White Lady haunts the Dark Walk beside the 
pool in the grounds at Kilsall. 

In some places the fair dweller in the waters is known 
as a mermaid (= mere-maid ?). The Mermaid of Newport 
lives in Aqualate Mere, two miles higher up the Wild- 
moors than the site of the town. If she really deserves 
her name she must once have inhabited the Vivary pool 
below the mere, from which the burgesses of Newport 
were bound to supply fish for the king's table, but which 
seems gradually to have dried up during the eighteenth 
century. (Its place is now occupied by the Shropshire 
Union Canal.) When Aqualate Mere was being dredged 
and cleansed, the mermaid put her head out and gave this 
warning : 

If this mere you do let dry : 
Newport and Meretown I will destr'y. 

Another mermaid lives, or lived, in a pond at Child's 
Ercall. She appeared once to two men on their way to 
their work, and offered them treasures if they would come 
to her in the water to receive them. But just as she was 


about to put a lump of gold into their hands one of them 
uttered an oath, and the mermaid vanished with a shriek. 1 

Pools of stagnant water are sometimes said to be the 
abode of "Jenny Greenteeth," who will drag in unwary 
children who venture too near the edge. 

Bomere Pool is the residence of a monster fish, girt 
with a sword, which, one story says, was buckled round 
him by the Squire of Condover when he was once cap- 
tured by a fishing party, from whose boat he easily 
escaped. Another and more romantic version declares 
that this is no other than Wild Edric's sword (thrown like 
Excalibar into the pool?) committed to the fish's keeping 
when he vanished^ and never to be restored till the " right 
heir " to Condover Hall (or to Edric's estates) shall come 
to claim his own. 

" Sivern," the great river which cleaves the county in 
halves, is always mentioned without the prefix "the," as 
if it were a person. If anyone should drown his enemy 
in the river, he must never again attempt to cross it, for 
the river will avenge the murder, stretching out long arms 
and dragging him under. And the river water is so 
instinct with life that if any be taken into a house it will 
keep up a perpetual drumming against the sides of the 
vessel containing it until it be restored to its home. If 
Milton (Comus) may be believed, it was formerly thought 
to be a remedy for witchcraft in cattle, and Dyer's Fleece 
echoes and elaborates his description of the " shepherds " 
throwing offerings of flowers into the stream at sheep- 
shearings and festivals. 

A country of hills and rivers is naturally also a country 
of wells and springs. Saints' wells are found everywhere, 
most of them healing wells ; though healing properties 
are not confined to wells of saintly dedication. Wishing 
wells occur occasionally in the west of the county. At 

1 Compare the oath which prevents the rescue of the church bells 
from the water, and the Shropshire proverb, " Don't swear, or you'll 
catch no fish." Swearing also prevents bees from swarming. 


that in Sunny Gutter, near Ludlow (the traditional scene 
of the adventure in Comus\ you must drop a stone into 
the water when you wish ; at the famous well of St. 
Oswald, Oswestry, stone rites are also practised. You 
may either take a little water up in your hand, drink part, 
and throw the rest on a stone in the masonry carved with 
the head of St. Oswald ; or throw a stone on a certain 
spot at the bottom of the well, and put your head under 
the jet of water thrown up ; or breathe your wish into a 
hole in the keystone of the arch over the well ; or simply 
bathe your face with the water. At Rhosgoch-by- 
Worthen (not strictly in Shropshire) pins must be offered ; 
so also at the wells at Rorrington and Churchstoke, where 
wishing is not mentioned, pins were thrown into the wells 
at the Well- Wakes on Ascension Day. 1 

Wakes are a noteworthy feature of Shropshire folk- 
lore. A wake is an annual local merrymaking or festival, 
known in some counties as a " feast," and usually observed 
on the day of the saint to whom the parish church is 
dedicated. Absent members of families came home for 
the wake, special local cakes or other viands were generally 
provided, sports, usually trials of strength or skill, were 
got up among the young men, different places having each 
its own speciality in this way ; dancing, " kiss-in-the- 
ring," and other games went on, mummers or morris- 
dancers came round. Such was the wake of old times. 
Shows, " merry-go-rounds," and dancing in the public- 
houses form the staple of the amusements nowadays. 

But besides the parochial wakes, we find in Shropshire 
similar wakes observed at well sides in early summer, or 
on hill tops, generally beside a spring. No such wakes 
were held on the banks of the meres : it is evident that 
for some reason living water was a necessity of the 
festival. In three cases which have been recorded 

1 Mr. G. L. Gomme, in his Ethnology and Folk-Lore, pp. 81, 82, takes 
some of these places to be in the east of the county, which, as he bases 
some of his conclusions on their position, is unfortunate. 


Rorrington, Old Churchstoke, and Betchcot on the Long- 
mynd the well was "dressed" with boughs and flowers 
as in the well-known case of Tissington, in Derbyshire. 
At the " Halliwell Wakes," held on Ascension Day at the 
Halliwell or Holy Well on the hillside at Rorrington Green 
(a hamlet in the parish of Chirbury), a bower of rushes, 
boughs, and flowers was erected over the well, and a may- 
pole set up. The people " walked " (i.e., went in procession) 
round the hill, led by music, dancing as they went. The 
well was visited, the water tasted, and pins thrown into 
it to bring good-luck and preserve the donors from witch- 
craft. A barrel of ale, brewed the previous autumn on 
the green (presumably from the Holy Well water), was 
taken to the well side and tapped. Cakes were also sold, 
round, flat spiced buns, marked with a cross, which were 
supposed to bring good luck if kept. The rest of the 
day was spent in feasting and dancing at the well side. 
Elsewhere in West Shropshire we hear of the people 
sitting round the well eating cakes and drinking sugar- 
and-water from cups passed round the circle. We seem 
almost to be carried back to the eighth century, when 
Archbishop Egbert ordained that " if any man keep his 
wake at a well, let him fast three years ! " 

In some cases, as we have seen, the well has received 
a saintly dedication; sometimes there is a tradition of an 
ancient chapel having stood beside it, or else the day 
chosen is a Church festival, such as Palm Sunday or 
Ascension Day ; but even this thin veneer of Christianity 
is often wanting in the Hill Wakes which were held on 
several of the principal heights. 

It was customary to ascend Pontesford Hill on Palm 
Sunday, professedly to search for a mysterious golden 
arrow, dropped by a king, or a fairy, or in a battle (as it 
was variously reported) on the hill years ago, and only to 
be recovered by the destined heir to the estate, or by 
the maiden seventh daughter of a seventh son searching 
for it at midnight ; but on its discovery some great 


estate would be restored to the true heir, or 
some unknown spell be removed. The custom, 
however, was called "going palming," and the 
practice was to try to be the first to gather a spray from a 
solitary yew-tree on the summit, known as the haunted 
yew-tree, which " palm " would prove a talisman against 
every kind of misfortune during the next twelve months ; 
and after that to run headlong down the steep slope of 
the hill and dip the fourth finger of the right (left ?) hand 
in the waters of Lyde Hole, a reputed " bottomless " pool 
of the brook in the valley, after which the next person of 
the opposite sex to be met would be the destined husband 
or wife of the diviner. 

Wrekin Wakes, held on the first Sunday in May, were 
distinguished by an ever-recurring contest between the 
colliers and the agricultural population for the possession 
of the hill. This is said to have gone on all day, reinforce- 
ments being called up when either side was worsted. 
The rites still practised by visitors to the Wrekin doubt- 
less formed part of the ceremonial of the ancient wake. 
On the bare rock at the summit is a natural hollow, known 
as the Raven's Bowl or the Cuckoo's Cup, which is always 
full of water, supposed to be placed there as it were 
miraculously, for the use of the birds. Every visitor 
should taste this water, and, if a young girl ascending the 
hill for the first time, should then scramble down the steep 
face of the cliff and squeeze through a natural cleft in the 
rock called the Needle's Eye, and believed to have been 
formed when the rocks were rent at the Crucifixion. 
Should she look back during the task, she will never be 
married. Her lover should await her at the further side 
of the gap, where he may claim a kiss, or, in default of 
one, the forfeit of some article of clothing a coloured' 
article, such as a glove, a kerchief, or a ribbon, carefully 
explained the lady on whose authority the last detail is 

Of Caradoc Wakes, held on Trinity Sunday (i.e., at 


the end of the Whitsuntide holidays?) no very special 
features have been recorded. The chief event was a 
wrestling match for a pair of leathern hedging gloves. 
The cave known to all as " Caractus's Hole " was visited ; 
and pursuing cakes rolled down the steep brow of the 
hill was another amusement. A barrel of beer was carted 
up the hill, old women offered gingerbread for sale, and 
the unfailing spring within the area of the ancient camp 
supplied water for making tea, which in the early nine- 
teenth century was, it must be remembered, a luxury. 

The Titterstone Wake, unlike the others, was not held 
till the last Sunday in August the end of harvest. 1 It 
was customary there for the young men and young women 
to ascend the hill in separate parties, going by different 
routes and meeting at a recognised trysting-place, whence 
they proceeded to. a spot known as Tea-kettle Alley, 
sheltered by tall blocks of basalt, where the elder women 
made tea with the water of the adjoining spring. Then 
the boys climbed the Giant's Chair, and sat repeating a 
ditty which, alas ! cannot be recovered, but which probably 
conveyed a challenge or defiance. Fights and similar 
contests were, as has been said, favourite features of the 
old-fashioned wakes, and we often meet with some cere- 
mony of challenging all comers for the championship. 
Moreover, there was reported to have been a battle of 
giants (battle = single combat) on the Titterstone. 

The sort of water-cult which pervades all these festi- 
vals will not escape any reader. It appears again, and in 
connection with a contest, in the curious custom of Rope- 
pulling, observed at Ludlow every Shrovetide up to 1850. 
A large rope of prescribed length and thickness, with a 
red knob at one end and a blue one at the other, was 
bought by the Corporation and given by the Mayor from a 
window in the Town Hall to the townspeople in the 
street. The inhabitants of Broad Street Ward seized the 

1 Cf. Professor Rhys, Celtic Folk-Lore. 


red knob, those of Corve Street the blue, and a 
fierce tug-of-war through the streets ensued, which was 
concluded when either the Broad Street men could dip 
their knob into the River Teme or the Corve Street men 
drag their opponents into the Bull Ring. This was 
repeated twice or three times, and the winners of two 
pullings became owners of the rope, which was then 
sold, and the proceeds spent in beer for their refresh- 
ment. This must originally have been a rain-charm, as 
in Burmah, or a weather-divination drought versus 
floods for the coming season. 

The popular annual festival of Much Wenlock was 
carried on independently of the local authorities. The 
municipality there has succeeded to the ancient jurisdic- 
tion of the Priory over the whole of Wenlock Liberty 
some seventeen parishes in the heart of the county. On 
Ascension Day the young men and boys of the town used 
to choose a mock Bailiff, who was solemnly arrayed in a 
hair-cloth gown, a Recorder, Town Clerk, Crier, etc., and 
to ride about the Liberty calling at the various gentle- 
men's houses for refreshment. At the end of the day they 
assembled outside the Guildhall, by the pillory, and their 
Town Clerk read their " Charter," as they called it, a 
rhyming doggrel of which only two lines have been pre- 
served : 

We go from Beckbury and Badger to Stoke on the Clee, 
To Monk Hopton, Round Acton, and so return we. 

The custom hardly survived into the nineteenth 
century. It probably originated whenever the lawful 
authorities ceased to " beat the bounds " of the Liberty 

" Shrewsbury Show," the great annual gala of Shrews- 
bury, which lasted, with some vicissitudes, down to 1878, 
was the direct descendant of the Corpus Christi Guild- 
procession of the Middle Ages. 1 It was, of course, under 

1 Corpus Christi, the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. 



the management of the trading companies, each of whom 
provided a "pageant" for the procession. This might 
be either a scene in action, paraded on a portable plat- 
form or a waggon, or one or more characters in costume 
riding singly on horseback. Each trade had also a banner, 
and frequently a band. Behind these the master trades- 
men of the craft walked in procession, followed by their 
apprentices, who sometimes provided separate pageants of 
their own. There is no record or tradition of the per- 
formance of any mystery-plays, as at York, Coventry, and 
Chester. If plays there were, they probably consisted not 
of a connected mystery, but of single miracle-plays on the 
legends of the patron saints of the companies. Even to 
the last days of the show, the shoemakers' pageant repre- 
sented St. Crispin and St. Crispian. The shearmen or 
cloth-dressers exhibited St Blaize ; the barbers evidently 
once displayed St. Katharine, though from the time of 
Catherine of Braganza she became Queen Catherine, and 
her wheel a spinning-wheel ; while the stag and huntsmen 
contributed by the glovers looks like a reminiscence of the 
legend of St. Giles, in whose parish in the Foregate they 
chiefly dwelt. 

The pageants of the other companies are of more 
obscure origin, and moreover varied from time to time ; 
often quaintly enough, as when the " Black Prince " was 
represented as a negro! Possibly, however, the blacka- 
moor may be the oldest part of the affair, and the name 
" Black Prince " may have been attached to him later. 1 
So also Venus, Ceres, and Mother Eve may be remnants 
of a primitive " Lady Godiva " element in the show, with 
all its shadowy background of magic. 2 

1 Cf. Hartland, Science of Fairy Tales, p. 85. A negro " Black 
Prince" is a constant character in the Mummers' Play. 

2 The Barbers, who carried " Queen " Catherine, were the oldest of 
the companies, having been incorporated in 1306. The Bakers were 
associated with them, and when separated again, either kept St. 
Catherine or presented Venus or Ceres ; while the Barbers, temporarily 
deprived of their patroness, adopted Queen Elizabeth in her place, 
always keeping up the tradition of a female figure. The Tailors, who 


In the palmy days of the show the procession was 
headed by the Mayor and Corporation, after whom came 
the trades in due order, accompanied by musicians playing 
the lively country-dance tune known as Shrewsbury 
Quarry. They went through the town and (since 1595) 
out to Kingsland, which, till the time of the present 
generation, was an open space beyond the river. 1 Here 
each trade had its own "Arbour," a permanent structure 
containing dining-hall, buttery, and other offices, duly 
furnished with long tables and benches, with a chair at 
the upper end for the Warden of the Company. There 
they dined, entertaining the Corporation as their guests, 
and spent the afternoon in amusement The handsome 
gateway of one of these arbours still remains, re-erected 
in the Quarry, and running the " Shoemakers' Race " 
formed one of the customary sports. It no longer exists, 
but it was a sort of labyrinth cut in the turf, measuring 
exactly a mile ; and in the midst was a rude representation 
of a giant's face, on to which the runner had to jump, 
alighting with his feet upon the eyes. 

Whether plays were given at the Show or not, they 
were favourite diversions at other festivals. The open-air 
theatre may yet be traced in the Quarry, where miracle- 
plays were acted by the Abbot of Shrewsbury's men, and 
where, when the abbey was swept away, were performed 
dramas, composed and superintended by the Master of the 

were incorporated so early as 1460, and who disputed with the Shoemakers 
the right to lead the way, carried a " gyrle " as their pageant in the 
earliest show of which we have details. Later? they depicted Adam and 
Eve on their banner, and as a pageant exhibited Cupid. Female nudity 
forms an important element in the ceremonial of rain-charms in the East 
and elsewhere. Cf. Hartland, Science of Fairy Tales, p. 71. 

1 Till about 1594 the trades seem to have met in the Quarry, but in 
that year an order was made by the Corporation forbidding plays, games, 
etc., "within the Town and Liberties." Kingsland was an open common 
where the burgesses had rights of pasture, as they had in the Quarry, but 
it was in the parish of Meole and diocese of Hereford. Probably the 
division between the Sees of Lichfield and Hereford perpetuated the 
memory of a much older time of division, either of Saxon kingdoms or 
still earlier tribes, and so Kingsland was beyond the jurisdiction of the 
town authorities. 


School. Drama under Elizabethan conditions survived 
in one remote corner of the county almost within the 
memory of man. On the western border, plays dating 
from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were acted 
in the thirties and forties of the nineteenth by companies 
of village men. They were performed at the wakes 
on an open-air stage formed of waggons boarded 
over. The chairman, book in hand, sat on the stage in 
full view of the audience, acting as prompter and call-boy 
in one ; boys took the women's parts, and the fool " played 
all manner of meagrims," and was "going on with his 
manoeuvres all the time." 1 "Stage-plays" they were 
called, in contradistinction to the performance of the 
Guisers (more generally known as Mummers), who peram- 
bulate the country at festival seasons (in Shropshire at 
Christmas), and entering the farm kitchens without cere- 
mony, there act their play on the floor of the room in the 
midst of the spectators. The play is, on the surface, the 
story of St. George, the champion of England, who over- 
throws all comers who dare to cross swords with him ; 
but the real motif is the far older one of the death of a 
hero in single combat and his revival at the hands of a 
wonder-working-magician. 2 It must not be confounded 
with the morris-dance, in which there is no play, no fight, 
and no " disguising," or dressing in character. It consists 
of a sort of country-dance, with various and often 
elaborate figures, danced by pairs of men brandish- 
ing short staves, and dressed in uniform costume with 
ribbons and (properly speaking) bells. Like all such old 
shows, it was accompanied by a Fool, and often by a man 
in woman's clothes, but these were not among the dancers. 
In the Middle Ages, and even much later, most municipal 
towns appear to have kept a troop of morris-dancers, 

1 Sir Offley Wakeman in Shropshire Archceological Transactions, 
vol. vii., p. 383. 

2 Much learning has been expended on this mythological theme, but 
no full examination of the popular drama itself, its probable source, and 
the area in which it is known, has yet appeared. 


who turned out to accompany any civic procession or gala, 
but in modern times the great stronghold of morris- 
dancing seems to be the Cotswold Hills. In Shropshire 
it seems chiefly to be practised in the south, the south- 
east, and the colliery districts, while we hear more of the 
Guisers in the north-east 

There is, in fact, considerable diversity of custom 
in the county. South and West of the Severn, Mothering 
Sunday (the fourth Sunday in Lent) is frequently 
observed by visits paid to the mothers by their 
children living away from home. It is called also 
" Simnel Sunday," from the cakes presented by the 
dutiful visitors. Shrewsbury still has a speciality 
for its Simnel Cakes rich plum cakes, round and 
flat, with a peculiar scalloped edging, which are 
enclosed in a hard crust coloured with saffron, and are 
boiled before being baked. The name comes from 
siminella, fine flour ; but folk-etymology derives it from 
an imaginary old couple named Sim and Nell, who dis- 
puted whether to boil or bake the remains of their Christ- 
mas pudding, and finally agreed to do both. But in the 
north-eastern portion of the county Mothering Sunday is 
never heard of. On the other hand, All Souls' Eve 
(Hallow E'en) is commonly observed there. Parties of 
children (formerly of adults also) go from door to door 
singing, or rather droning, a rhyming ditty, 1 and begging 
for apples, beer, or the " soul-cakes " which in days still 
remembered, good housewives used to bake in readiness 
for them. The object of the practice obviously was to 
provide the poor with materials for keeping the festival 
with cakes and wassail, while they no doubt (in mediaeval 
times) would remember their benefactors and their bene- 
factors' deceased friends at the Mass for All Souls the 
next morning. The curious thing is that, save at Pulver- 

1 Shakespeare had heard them. " He speaks puling, like a beggar at 
Hallowmas." Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act ii., sc. i. 


batch, there is no record of this custom south of the 

There seems, in fact, to be a boundary-line of custom 
running transversely across the county from south-east 
to north-west, following to some extent the course of the 
Severn. South and west of this line the yearly hiring of 
servants takes place in May ; north and east of it, at 
Christmas ; which really amounts to a difference in the 
calendar in use among the agricultural population in the 
two districts. The line, moreover, coincides somewhat 
closely with a philological boundary, viz., that between 
the Northern and Western types of dialect, which is trace- 
able through the county ; and, more roughly, with the 
oldest political boundary of the region, namely, that which 
divides the diocese of Lichfield from those of St. Asaph 
and Hereford. (The latter, founded A.D. 676, served the 
ancient sub-kingdom of the Hecanas or Magesaetas.) 
This looks as if it might really have a racial origin. But 
as all the historic races Celt, Teuton, and Norseman 
which have contributed to people our island, divided 
the year into winter and summer November-May, May- 
November, and began it at the beginning of a season, 
and not at the winter solstice or any of the quarter-days 
dependent on it, like the Roman and Ecclesiastical 
calendars, 1 the difference is perhaps on the whole more 
likely to be due to local political causes. 

Shropshire people are always ready for " a bit of a 
do ; " not a swindle, be it understood, but a merrymaking. 
Not contented with the authorised calendrical feasts they 
seize on every opportunity to show their kindly feeling by 
popular festivities. The marriage of an important land- 
owner, or the birth or majority of an heir to his estates, 
for example, is always an occasion for sympathetic re- 
joicing. Subscriptions are raised to feast the poor and 
to provide amusements for a gala. An ox, or more than 

1 Tille, Yule and Christmas, their place in the Germanic Year ; Rhys 
Celtic Folk-lore, Welsh and Manx, i. 315. 


one, is purchased and killed for distribution among 
the cottagers. On the appointed day the village is 
decorated with flags and arches; a grand procession is 
formed of the subscribers, tenantry, schools, and so forth, 
with bands, flags, and decorated waggons conveying the 
oxen, to visit and congratulate the gentleman in whose 
honour the affair is arranged. The feasting probably 
takes place in his park, and the rest of the day is spent 
in games and amusements. Whether the local folk-lore 
of Shropshire bears witness to the ethnic descent of the 
people or not, it will be seen that it certainly reflects 
their cheerful, sociable, friendly character. These were 
the qualities which in the sixteenth century already dis- 
tinguished them among other counties. 

And Shropshire saith in her, That shins be ever sharp, 

Lay wood upon the fire, reach hither me my harp, 

And whilst the black bowl walks, we merrily will carp. 

Drayton Polyolbion, 23. 




Author of The Council in the Marches of Wales 

Thus farre I goe to prove this Wales in dede 
Or els at least, the martchers of the same. 
But further speake of shiere it is no neede, 

Save Ludloe now, a towne of noble fame : 
A goodly seate, where oft the councell lyes, 
Where monuments are found in auncient guyse : 
Where kings and queenes in pompe did long abyde, 
And where God pleasde that good Prince Arthur dyde. 

Churchyard. Worthines of Wales. 

JEW of the smaller towns of England are so full 
of memories as Ludlow, "town of noble fame," 
and in few places can the connexion between 
the present and the past be more fully realized 
The castle still crowns the hill that overlooks the meeting 
of the Teme and Corve ; the tower of St. Lawrence's 
Church is a landmark as it was four centuries ago, but 
there is no clash of arms in the narrow streets, no eager 
throng watching from afar the coming of prince or 
president, little save memories to remind us of the days 
when Ludlow was the capital of the Marches and the seat 
of a vice-regal court. Yet such memories grow strangely 
vivid as we walk along the streets once trodden by 
Prince Edward and Princess Mary, or enter the castle 
which was the home of Lacys and Mortimers, Sydneys 
and Herberts, or look at the windows from which " the 
verse of Comus was first shaken into the air of England." 


The greatest days of Ludlow were from the fifteenth 
century down to the revolution of 1688, when it was the 
most usual meeting-place of the Council in the Marches 
of Wales. But long before the establishment of the 
Council Ludlow had been the chief seat of the Mortimer 
power : there Richard Duke of York had mustered the 
army which melted away in the rout of Ludford Bridge, 
and during the reigns of the Yorkist Kings the town 
enjoyed special favour. In the reign of Edward IV. the 
Council in the Marches arose out of the Prince's Council, 
which had existed ever since the time of the first English 
Prince of Wales for the purpose of administering his 
estates. Edward, as heir of the Mortimers and the chief 
Marcher Lord, well knew the need of strong government 
in the Welsh Border, which had been for centuries one 
of the most disorderly parts of the kingdom. Hence, in 
the year 1473, in all probability, a Council was appointed 
with large administrative powers under the presidency 
of John Alcock, Bishop of Ely. Prince Edward, who was 
but three years old, had already been sent down to the 
Border with his mother, and it would seem that Ludlow 
was his home till his accession in 1483. During these 
ten years the Council made a beginning in the work of 
reducing the Marches to order, but on the departure of 
Edward V. from Ludlow it seems to have fallen into 
abeyance, and no record occurs of it till the reign of 
Henry VII., who, as a Welshman, and owing his crown 
largely to Welsh help, was naturally anxious to improve 
the condition of Wales and the Marches. 

Under Henry VII. the Council of the Marches was 
definitely established. Probably about 1493 a Council 
was appointed for Prince Arthur, who spent much of his 
brief life at Ludlow, whence he often visited Shrewsbury 
to receive entertainment from the burgesses. A letter 
from the Council to the bailiffs of Shrewsbury probably 
belongs to this period ; it is headed, " By the Prince," 
and concludes with the formula used in the Council's 

\ . / 

! - K.M.R. 


letters, " Given under our Signet at the Castle of Ludlow 
the vth day of December." The Prince's stay in the 
Marches has been commemorated ever since by the name 
of " Prince Arthur," which is attached to the room at the 
western extremity of the group of main buildings in the 
inner court. A strange fatality attended all those of royal 
blood who dwelt at Ludlow Castle. Edward V. had left 
it, only to find a prison and a grave; Prince Arthur, on 
whom so many hopes had been fixed, died there but five 
months after his wedding day. After the Prince's death, 
in 1502, Bishop Smyth, founder of Brasenose College, 
acted as President up to 1512, and during these years 
may be placed the transition from the Prince's Council 
to the Council in the Marches of Wales. Little record of 
its work survives, but we may gather that it was 
empowered to punish rebellions and murders, and to array 
the "fencible men" in time of need. 

After several years of obscurity, the Council of the 
Marches once more came into prominence in the year 
1525, when the Princess Mary, not yet ten years of age, 
was sent to the Border to keep Court there with the 
Bishop of Exeter, John Voysey, as President. Elaborate 
instructions were drawn up for the regulation of her 
household, and chapel furniture, damask, velvet and cloth 
were sent down from London in readiness for her arrival. 
In September, 1525, she paid a visit to her father at King's 
Langley, probably to bid him farewell. One of Wolsey's 
correspondents tells him : " My lady princess came hither 
on Saturday, surely, sir, of her age as goodly a child as 
ever I have seen, and of as good gesture and countenance. 
. . . Her Grace was not only well accompanied with 
a goodly number, but also with divers persons of gravity, 
venerandam habendam canitiem. I saw not the court, 
sir, better furnished with sage personages many days than 
now." The little Princess stayed in the Marches for some 
eighteen months, partly at Ludlow, partly at Thornbury, 
and at Tickenhill, near Bewdley. A letter addressed by 


six of her Council to Wolsey speaks of the great repair 
of strangers expected at the coming Christmastide (1525 
or 1526), and asks his pleasure respecting Christmas 
entertainments Lord of Misrule, interludes, and the like 
and also about New Year's gifts for the King and 
Queen, Wolsey himself, and the Queen of France. All 
through 1526 negotiations were proceeding for Mary's 
marriage to Francis I. or his second son, the Duke of 
Orleans, and in the spring of 1527 she was summoned 
from Ludlow to meet the French Commissioners at 
Greenwich. Her household in the Marches was reduced, 
partly by the easy process of requesting certain 
abbots to take so many of the destitute servants unto 
" convenient finding." Meanwhile, Wales and the 
Marches remained in an unsatisfactory condition; the 
Lord President, as a spiritual person, could not inflict the 
death penalty for felony and murder, and Cromwell was 
compelled to note in his Remembrances again and again : 
" The necessity of looking into the state of Wales." 
" More than a hundred," he was told, " have been slain in 
the Marches of Wales since the Bishop of Exeter was 
President there, and not one of them punished." 

At last the Presidency of the Council was given to a 
man whose strong hand repressed the lawlessness which 
from time immemorial had prevailed in the Marches. 
Rowland Lee, Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, held 
office from 1534 to 1543, during which period we have, 
from his own correspondence with Cromwell, a vivid 
picture of the Council's work. His task was not easy. 
First and foremost, he had to punish manslaughter and 
thievery, then to suppress riots, and to check the misdeeds 
of royal and manorial officials and the prevalence pf 
perjury on the part of juries. Soon his exertions bore 
fruit, and he could write triumphantly to Cromwell : " 1 
hope you understand the good order begun in Wales so 
that thieves are afraid." Thieves were his special bugbear. 
He writes with much indignation that at a certain cattle 


sale, Richard Lloyd, of Welshpool, " a gentleman and 
a thief and a receiver of thieves," wore a doublet of 
crimson velvet or satin, " which does not become a thief ; 
the hanging of one such would cause forty to beware." 
And again : " Good rule prevails here, for one cow keeps 
another, which was never before. . . . The thieves 
have hanged me in imagination, I trust to be even with 
them shortly." 

Lee's hope was certainly fulfilled, for by 1538 he could 
write : 

Wales was never in better order, all old factions forgotten . . . 
Your subjects in Wales be in such order that since Christmas I hear 
of neither stealing, riots, murders, nor manslaughters. In the Marches 
and in Wales in the wild parts where I have been is order and quiet 
such as is now in England. 

Ludlow is mentioned several times in his letters. He 
complains that in the Castle there was 

Neither gun nor powder, only one hundred sheaf of arrows and forty bows 
little worth ; not one string nor axe whereby I could do the King service, 
two hundred and fifty Almain rivets, but neither gorget nor apron of 
mail. Thank God the country is quiet. 

The Castle itself was out of repair, and Lee resorted 
to curious expedients to secure the necessary money. He 
asked Cromwell if he might use the goods of a certain 
murderer, valued at 40 or 50 only, out of which some- 
thing must be deducted for the relief of the widow and 

During Lee's presidency were passed the acts by 
which the union of England and Wales was effected, and 
the powers of the President and Council of the Marches 
confirmed. Lee disapproved of the "shiring of Wales," 
and drew a dismal picture of the "bearing of thieves" 
that would ensue. Nevertheless, he set to work with his 
usual energy to carry out the necessary changes. He 
was equally ready to carry out the King's will in matters 
ecclesiastical. As he frankly confessed, he had " never 
heretofore been in pulpit," but he proceeded with his 


wonted businesslike thoroughness to carry out the King's 
injunctions as to preaching. Lee was undoubtedly the 
sternest and most effective of all the Lords President who 
kept court at Ludlow. Month after month he scoured 
Wales and the Marches, securing thieves in such numbers 
that neither Ludlow nor other castles were able to hold 
them all in security. For many years to come the Welsh 
trembled at the remembrance of " Bishop Rowland's 
justice," and the Shrewsbury chronicler a century later 
wrote that he " had brought Wales into civility before 
he died, and had said he would make the white sheep keep 
the black." 

For several years after Lee's death little is known 
of the Council of the Marches beyond the names of the 
Lords President. But in 1559 began the tenure of office 
by one who left a mark both on Ludlow itself and on the 
character of the people within his jurisdiction Sir Henry 
Sydney, father of Sir Philip, and one of the ablest and 
worthiest among Elizabethan statesmen. The spirit in 
which he governed may be best comprehended from his 
own words, written towards the close of his life : 

Great it is that in some sort I govern the third part of this realm 
under her most excellent Majesty ; high it is, for by that I have precedence 
of great personages and by far my betters ; happy it is for the goodness 
of the people whom I govern ; and most happy it is for the commodity 
I have, by the authority of that' place, to do good every day. 

Sydney was Lord President from 1559 to 1586, but 
many of these years were spent in the weary task of 
crushing Irish rebellion. His visits to Ludlow were paid 
between the years 1559 and 1565, 1571 and 1575, and 
again between 1578 and his death in 1586. His famous 
children, Philip and Mary, spent most of their childhood 
in the Castle. There the little Ambrozia Sydney died, and 
her monument may still be seen on the right hand of the 
altar in St. Lawrence's Church. No more fitting home, 
surely, could have been chosen for the childhood of Philip, 
whose friendship became to Fulk Greville the most 


precious gift of life, and of Mary "the ornament of all 

Sydney's term of office has left abundant records of 
the work accomplished by the Council, partly in the 
detailed instructions issued at various times, and partly 
in the correspondence between the Privy Council and 
the Lord President or his deputy. The duties of the 
Council were mainly, as hitherto, the keeping of order 
and the punishment of offenders, the prevention of the 
wearing of armour without leave in fairs, markets and 
churches, and the suppression of the practice of livery, 
which lasted longer in Wales and the North than else- 
where. Numerous details are extant as to the officers of 
the Council and the fees allowed ; we have even informa- 
tion as to the meals supplied to prisoners in the Porter's 
Lodge. The Porter was to keep in readiness two tables, 
the first and best at 8d. a meal, and the second at 6d. 
The prisoner was to choose at his commitment at which 
of these tables he would remain; if he refused to pay 
his fees on the day following his commitment and the 
ordinary diet charges every week-end, bonds were to be 
taken for due payment. Sydney did much to render the 
castle a more fitting seat of the Council's jurisdiction. 
He erected a range of buildings opposite the Chapel on 
the south side of the court. These included sundry 
offices, a bridge into the castle, a courthouse, and two 
offices underneath for keeping the Council records. 
Besides these he repaired the chapel, ceiled, glazed, and 
tiled it, with " fair and large windows," and adorned it with 
the arms of the Queen, sundry noblemen, and all the Lords 
President and Councillors. Even this list does not exhaust 
Sydney's improvements, for we read of the "wainscoting 
and flooring of a great parlour within the castle," " a fair 
tennis court within the same castle paved with freestone," 
and a conduit of lead more than a mile in length to convey 
water to the castle. Churchyard, too, tells us that at the 
end of the dining-chamber Sydney set a memorial of his 


return to the Marches, " a pretty device how the hedgehog 
brake the chain and came from Ireland to Ludlow." 
These buildings were probably finished about 1581, for in 
that year the following inscription was put up over the 
entrance to the inner court of the Castle, where it still 
remains : 

Hominibus ingratis loquimini lapides 

Anno regni Reginae Elizabethae 23 
The 22 Year Complet of the Presidency 

of Sir Henry Sydney 

Knight of the Most Noble Order of 

The Garter, etc. 1581. 

Sydney had had some experience of man's ingratitude. 
Towards the end of his life he had fallen out of favour 
with the Queen, and had been censured for laxity in carry- 
ing out the instructions concerning recusants ; perhaps 
the supervision of the castle buildings may have solaced 
him in those years when health and strength had departed, 
and honour and gratitude came in scanty measure. 

During Sydney's long absence in Ireland many abuses 
crept into the Council. Frequent complaints occur of 
corruption, partiality, greed, delay and extravagance. 
William Gerard, a member of the Council for over twenty 
years, told Walsingham that the " house " at Ludlow was 
one thousand marks in debt, and that the Porter's Lodge 
"is grown to no terror of punishment of the body, but 
a gulf through fees to suck up a mean man." He is 
frankness itself in his description of his colleagues ; 
Sir Andrew Corbet, the Vice-President, was " a very 
sickly man, not able to take the toil of that service." 
Powell of Oswestry, was " well seen in Welsh stories, in 
that service sitteth like a cipher." Jerome Corbet was 
" a young man, an utter barrister in court, but so slow of 
despatch as not meet for that court." Nor was his col- 
league Fabian Phillips much more competent, for he was 
but " a young man, an utter barrister of small experience 
at the bar or bench, of no known living saving a bailiwick 
or stewardship." If abuses prevailed in the Council, it 


was not for lack of reforming zeal in some quarters. In 
the Lansdowne MSS. we can read page after page of 
complaints and commands, which for the most part had 
little effect. For two years, however, from 1577 to 1579, 
Sydney had an able deputy in Whitgift, then Bishop of 
Worcester, who acted as Vice-President with signal 
success, and received the thanks of the Privy Council for 
his services. 

From an} 


{Old Engraving. 

On Sydney's death and the appointment of his suc- 
cessor, the Earl of Pembroke, a great effort was made to 
reform the Council. Pembroke set to work to become 
acquainted with its actual condition, and drew up a 
valuable document embodying the results of his researches. 
He was especially struck with three abuses, viz., the great 
increase of fees, the unsatisfactory keeping of the records, 
and the practice of examining witnesses by means of 
young and inexperienced clients. He quotes a flagrant 
instance of extortion on the part of the Serjeant-at-Arms, 
who had been sent with an ordinary process of the Court 


(of the Council) to a Gloucestershire gentleman some forty 
miles from Ludlow. He never executed the process, 
for he did not find the party, but he had the effrontery 
to demand against him before the Lord President the sum 
of 240 in fees ; to his great chagrin he received no more 
than $. 

Pembroke found that he had an uphill task. In 1590 
certain " libelling articles " were exhibited against the 
Council, but he was unable to justify himself in the 
ordinary course of law, and could only say indignantly, 
" I am enforced in defence of my honour to say that in 
these particulars which concern me alone, the first libeller 
and he who commented thereupon do both lie in their 
throats." Another vigorous campaign against abuses was 
begun in 1 590 ; excessive fees were abolished, the number 
of superfluous counsellors, attorneys and clerks reduced, 
and the household management re-organized. But the 
Council had by now seen its best days ; the offices were 
often regarded as convenient sinecures, and all important 
cases were dealt with elsewhere in the Privy Council, 
the Star Chamber, or the Common Law Courts. Pem- 
broke complained that he had been " misreported of 
without desert, and maliced without cause." On the 
other hand, in spite of undoubted abuses, it would seem 
that the Council was still esteemed. In a dialogue written 
in 1594 by George Owen, of Henllys, it is extolled as 
"generally the very place of refuge for the poor 
oppressed of this country of Wales to fly unto ; and for 
this cause it is as greatly frequented with suits as any 
one court at Westminster whatsoever, the more for that 
it is the best cheap court in England for fees, and there 
is great speed made in trial of all causes." The 
speaker, Demetus, a Pembrokeshire man, admits that 
abuses exist, but considers that they are small in com- 
parison with the merits of the court, and might easily 
be redressed. 

With the close of Pembroke's term of office in 1602, 


the Council of the Marches entered upon troubled times. 
Thenceforth until the overthrow of its criminal jurisdic- 
tion in 1641, an agitation was directed against its 
jurisdiction in the Border counties, viz. : Shropshire, 
Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire. " The 
tedious business of the Marches," as it was truly called, 
occupied the attention of the best lawyers of the day, 
Bacon among them. The arguments on both sides were 
extremely complex, mainly because the word " Marches " 
was ambiguous ; it might be used in the sense of Border, 
as at the present day, or in the restricted sense of the 
Marcher Lordships. Those who upheld the Council's 
jurisdiction took the word in the wide popular sense ; 
those who opposed it, in the narrow legal sense, and as 
the two sides differed on this fundamental question, it 
is not surprising that the case dragged on to an uncon- 
scionable length. Its interest lay mainly in this, that the 
king's prerogative was conceived to be involved. " Dis- 
cretionary governments," it was urged on the one side, 
" are most dangerous, and therefore the fewer of them 
in any state, the better." On the other hand, James 
emphatically maintained that all novelties were dangerous. 
The adversaries of the Council failed to gain their point 
in the reign of James I., but they succeeded in 1641, when, 
by the act abolishing the Star Chamber, the criminal 
jurisdiction of the Lord President and Council was 

From the strife and bitterness of these years it is a 
relief to turn to two scenes at Ludlow which bring before 
us with unwonted clearness the relations between the 
Council and the town. On November 4th, 1616, the day 
when Charles was created Prince of Wales and Earl of 
Chester at Whitehall, a stately ceremony was held at 
Ludlow. It is described in a quaint tract, " The Love 
of Wales to their sovereign Prince," printed in Clive's 
History of Ludlow. The celebration began with the 
affixing of the arms, name and style of the Prince under 


the pulpit in St. Lawrence's Church, on the Castle Chapel, 
and the Courthouse, also on the town gates and the chief 
posts and pillars of the market place. Then came a 
procession of the Justice and Council and officials, escorted 
by the bailiffs, magistrates and chief brethren, to the 
Church, where service was said, and "one Mr. Thomas 
Pierson, a grave reverend divine and worthy preacher, 
made a very learned sermon of an hour and half long." 
As the company came out of the market-place they 
stopped to listen to Latin and English verses " principally 
invented and made by the painful industry of that judicious 
and laborious Master of Arts, Humfrey Herbert, Chief 
Schoolmaster of His Majesty's Free School there, upon 
one day's warning." Specimens of these have been 
preserved by our conscientious author. They are not a 
little pathetic in their confident assurance that the young 
Prince will "protect this happy government," and their 
ardent hope 

O prosper may he, and his glory more 
Than any Charles the world had e'er before. 

The procession then passed on to the courthouse, 
where the Justice delivered in praise of the Prince an 
oration which was received with playing of music, beating 
of drums, whistling of flutes, sounding of trumpets, shouts 
and volleys, " the echo and report whereof resounded 
admirably to the great solace and comfort of all present." 
By now it was one o'clock dinner-time for the Justice 
and Council in the castle, and for the bailiffs and burgesses 
in the town. No sooner was their meal ended than the 
bailiffs again appeared with the choir, pennon-bearers and 
waits, for evening service in the castle chapel. The 
festivities were not even then ended, for on the morrow 
was celebrated the deliverance of King and Queen, Prince 
and Parliament from the " Papists' treasonable and horrible 
conspiracy, and unmatchable intended practice of the 
Gunpowder Treason." 

Far more noteworthy was the celebration, eighteen 


years later (1634), of the entry upon office of the Earl of 
Bridge water, who had been nominated Lord President in 
1631. He came to Ludlow attended by a large concourse 
of the neighbouring nobility and gentry, and the 
hospitalities, which continued through the greater part of 
1634, were crowned by the performance on Michaelmas 
Day of Milton's Comus in the great hall, now called the 
Comus Hall. The part of the Lady was performed by 
Lady Alice Egerton, then fifteen years of age ; the parts 
of the two Brothers by Lord Brackley and Mr. Thomas 
Egerton, still young boys. 

It is a striking proof of the immortalizing power of 
poetry that the existence of President and Council is 
best remembered now because Milton, still young and 
little known, placed the scene of Comus in Ludlow and 
the neighbourhood. Seldom can a great poem have come 
before the world in a setting so fair as on that Michael- 
mas evening, when the Attendant Spirit entered to tell 
the expectant throng how 

All this tract that fronts the falling sun 
A noble Peer of mickle trust and power 
Has in his charge with tempered awe to guide 
An old and haughty nation, proud in arms ; 
Where his fair offspring, nursed in princely lore, 
Are coming to attend their father's state 
And new-intrusted sceptre. 

The Earl lived to see the downfall of the Court 
over which he had come to preside with so much pomp. 
After his first visit he did not often come to Ludlow, but 
he received frequent letters from his steward there, Henry 
Eccleston, an inveterate grumbler, who troubled his master 
with all manner of trivial domestic details. In one letter 
he even complains of a certain scullery woman who stole 
spoons, saucers and dishes, and hid them in her trunk, 
and in another he laments that the fines for the last two 
terms have not brought in enough to pay the laundress. 
The Earl replies in an equally doleful strain, insisting 


that Eccleston must be as economical as he can, and 
that his own lands and revenues must not be spent on 
maintaining the castle. However, the Earl watched care- 
fully over the business of the Council, such as it was, and 
to his methodical habits we owe the preservation of a 
number of entry books for the years 1632 to 1642, which 
throw much light on the character of the cases that came 
before the court. From these it appears that debts and 
affrays were the causes of many suits, but that other 
matters were dealt with as well. All through 1641 the 
position of the Court was extremely precarious ; bailiffs 
who tried to arrest offenders were assaulted, and orders 
were neglected not only in the four counties, but in the 
Principality. The civil jurisdiction continued up to the 
outbreak of the war, and an Entry Book is extant for 
Trinity Term, 1642, showing that the number of suits 
was but 69, as against 453 for the corresponding term 
of 1640. 

A few months later the Civil War broke out, and the 
Court fell into abeyance. At the Restoration it was 
revived with respect to its civil jurisdiction, which was 
held to be untouched by the Star Chamber Act of 1641. 
The new Lord President, appointed in 1661, was the 
Earl of Carbery, who in 1665 was made Constable of 
Ludlow Castle. The seal of the Court was engraved the 
size of a twenty-shilling piece by Thomas Simon, the 
king's engraver, and a large number of officials were 

Ludlow Castle had suffered severely during the Civil 
Wars, and considerable sums were allotted for its repair. 
It would seem, however, that the Earl neglected the 
buildings, put in old household stuff, and converted to 
his own use the plate and goods provided 

Between the Restoration and the Revolution the 
Court of the Marches became more and more insignificant. 
On one occasion only was its former dignity revived, when 
in 1682 the Duke of Beaufort, last President but one, made 


a state journey through his Presidency. This " Beaufort 
Progress " is described at great length in a MS. volume 
written and illustrated by Thomas Dingley, or Dineley, 
one of the Duke's escort at the time. It has twice been 
reproduced in facsimile, and forms an important record 
for Wales and the Border on the eve of the Revolution. 1 
On the arrival of the cavalcade at Ludlow, the Duke was 
received by the Bailiffs and the Common Council with 
great expressions of joy by the people. In the centre of 
the town, near the High Cross and public fountain, His 
Grace was presented with sweetmeats and wines, after 
which a reception was held at the castle. On the next 
day, after service in the castle chapel, the Duke, " in his 
rich robes of presidency," walked to the courthouse, where, 
after the Chief Justice of Chester had delivered the charge, 
the rest of the forenoon was spent in hearing cases. 
After this all the company were again entertained at a 
magnificent dinner in the castle, each person striving to 
outdo the rest in manifestations of loyalty to His Majesty 
and respect to His Grace. 

This brief sketch of the history of the Council of 
the Marches shows that for over two hundred years it 
was closely connected with Ludlow. The castle was its 
most frequent meeting-place, and among the documents 
dealing with its proceedings are numerous notices of 
repairs carried out under Lee and Sydney, and the Earls 
of Bridgewater and Carbery. Coats of arms to the 
number of 256 once existed in the Castle, including the 
arms of various sovereigns, the Lords President, the 
Councillors, and some of the early owners of the castle. 
Several of these are preserved to this day in the dining 
room of the Bull Inn. During the Civil War the king's 
goods at Ludlow Castle were sold by order of the Council 
of State, the value of the whole being 341 8s. 4d. 

1 That part of it which concerns Ludlow was communicated to the 
Ludlow Advertiser by Mr. J. H. Williams, Town Clerk of the borough, 
and printed in the issue for November 25th, 1905. 


How far the castle had fallen from its ancient glory 
is shown by the entry under the heading " Court House 
of Justice." This contained a feather bolster and a brass 
pot, value fourteen shillings, while the seat of justice, table 
and benches were valued at ten shillings. Three pieces of 
tapestry hangings formerly used in the Court were valued 
at 4 6s. 8d. In the withdrawing room were two pictures, 
" the one of the late king, and the other of his queen " ; 
but less store was set by them than by the table and 
benches, for they were valued at ten shillings. After 1689 
the castle was left to fall into decay. By degrees the 
fabric was stripped of lead, timber and carvings, but even 
in 1708 forty rooms were entire, and sixty years later 
the arms of some of the Lords President were still visible. 
In the Ludlow Museum is an ancient record or deed 
chest with three locks, which in the early part of the 
eighteenth century was filled with tapestry and armour, 
and conveyed for safety from the castle to the church ; but 
in vain, for it was rifled of its contents. 

In a MS. volume relating to Shropshire preserved in 
the Bodleian Library, is a noteworthy entry relating to 
Ludlow, which appears to establish the fate of the 
voluminous records of the Council, once preserved in the 
record-chamber within the Castle. 1 The writer speaks of 
the courthouse as a place " once of great request, in which 
all the records belonging to the Court of the Marches were 
kept ; but since the Revolution it has been utterly ruined, 
and the records have been taken out by the dragoons and 
people of the town for their own use, or sold by the 
dragoons to them." 

Many memorials of the Councillors and their relations 
are preserved in St. Lawrence's Church at Ludlow, which 
contains the monuments of Edmund Walter, Edmund 
Waties, Ambrozia Sydney, Sir Robert and Dame Anne 
Townesend, and Dame Mary Eure, wife of a Lord 

1 Blakeway. Salop MSS. ii. Shropshire Parochial History, H to N. 
Shelf Catalogue, No. 22,090. 



President in the reign of James I. The churchwardens' 
accounts show how important a part the Council played 
in the life of the borough. Such matters as the repair 
of the Lord President's pew, and the fees paid to bell- 
ringers on his arrival at Ludlow, are frequently mentioned. 
The Council's overthrow was clearly resented, and when 
in May, 1649, Sir Marmaduke Lloyd's pew was granted 
to the mayor, a proviso was added that if the former 
occupier came again to reside in the town, the grant 
should be void. The town authorities did their best to 
welcome the Lord President and Councillors ; one entry 
records that 3d. was paid for someone to attend Mr. 
Justice's coming on the steeple, the high tower of the 
church being the best available place of outlook. 

In the valuable collection of borough records at 
Ludlow there is abundant evidence to illustrate the 
relations between the Council and the borough authorities. 
Gifts of money, wine, oxen, sugar, and so forth, were 
constantly made to the Lord President and Council, and 
even the Councillors' wives sometimes had a share. On 
the other hand, the corporation received presents of bucks 
and does from the Lord President. 

The actual working of the Court of the Marches is 
shown by the large number of orders for stay of suits 
before the bailiffs, or for release of prisoners from gaol 
" according to the ancient privilege of our Court with 
our said Council and our instructions to them in that 
behalf granted." Such orders were often issued in favour 
of persons employed in the castle household or on repairs 
of the buildings. Often the bailiffs would be ordered to 
come up to the castle lodge and receive prisoners who 
were to be set in the pillory or whipped in the market- 
place. Once they were ordered to set in the stocks one 
John Clench, " for stealing of our pewter out of our 
castle of Ludlow." He was to be set in the stocks in 
the midst of the market-place, with one of his legs through 
the same and a pewter dish about his neck hanging before 


him, and remain thus from eleven in the forenoon till 
one in the afternoon. Another order directs that a 
certain Griffith ap Rees, " who was taken upon suspicion 
of picking of pockets and thievery, and his hand taken in 
another man's pockets," was to be whipped in open market 
between twelve and two o'clock, and then brought back 
to the Porter's Lodge. 

Members of the Council at times held office in the 
borough, e.g., Sir John Bridgeman and Henry Townesend 
were Recorders, receiving a salary of 2 per annum. 
Several of the Councillors built houses in Ludlow. 
Churchyard tells us of " the fair house by the gate of the 
making of Justice Walter," of the " fair house that Master 
Secretary Fox did bestow great charges on," and of 
" the fair house belonging to Mr. Townesend," that was 
once a friary. Respect towards the Council was rigidly 
enforced by the town authorities, as is seen by the abject 
petition for release by a man imprisoned in Galford's 
Tower (the town gaol) for having uttered words of abuse 
against Sir Thomas Cornewall. 

The influence of the Council on the condition of the 
town is shown in a very unfavourable light in the following 
passage from Baxter's Memoirs-. 

The house was great, there being four judges, the King's attorney, 
the clerk of the fines, with all their servants, and all the lord president's 
servants and many more ; and the town was full of temptations, through 
the multitude of persons (counsellors, attorneys, officers, and clerks), and 
much given to tippling and excess. 

After the Restoration the presence of the Council 
could do the town little good and little harm, for the 
household numbered only ten as against the long list of 
officials in Sydney's day. 

Such in brief outline is the history of the Council 
which for over two centuries had jurisdiction in Wales 
and the Border counties. It was founded in days when 
there was ample need for extraordinary measures, if the 
abuses of feudalism conflict of jurisdictions, private war, 


riots and robberies were to be repressed. For nearly a 
century the Council punished lawlessness with which the 
common law courts had no strength to deal. During the 
succeeding half -century it acted both as a judicial and an 
administrative body, the instrument of the Privy Council 
in Wales and the Marches. During this period the dignity 
of the Council increased, and its working became more 
regular, but the cases with which it dealt were less serious 
than in earlier years, and by the end of the century its 
decline had begun. In the seventeenth century it was 
mainly a court for the settlement of petty suits, and the 
elaborate establishment which had descended from the 
days when princes had kept court at Ludlow seemed un- 
necessary. Unpopular as it became, it had done useful 
work in the past, and even as late as the Revolution some 
held that a special court for Wales was a distinct 
advantage, considering the difficulty and expense of a 
journey to Westminster. Had the Council come to an end 
with the sixteenth century, it would probably have been 
remembered with gratitude ; by lasting nearly a century 
too long it gained an evil reputation for extravagance and 
oppression. Of the Council in the Marches, as of many 
institutions in the past, it may be said with truth : " To 
everything there is a season ; a time to be born, and a 
time to die." l 


1 Further details as to the history of the Council of the Marches may be 
found in the Author's The Council in the Marches of Wales (Hugh Rees, 
London, 1904). 




Vicar of Tong 

HERE is not room in a short and slight sketch 
to discuss the causes which gave rise to the 
struggle between Charles I. and his Parliament. 
Suffice it, therefore, to say that the breaking off 
of negotiations was followed on both sides by preparation 
for immediate war. One of the first acts of the King 
was to forward to Shropshire the appointment of a 
Commission of Array for that county, dated June 22nd, 
1642. The selected members of this were Prince Charles 
(then aged 1 2) ; Thomas, Earl of Arundel, of Clun ; John, 
Earl of Bridgwater, of Ellesmere, Lord President of the 
Marches (who soon afterwards joined the Parliament) ; 
William, Lord Craven, of Stokesay; Edward, Lord 
Herbert, of Chirbury; John Weld, of Willey, then High 
Sheriff; and others. By virtue of it they were required 
to send out a warrant summoning the " Ancient Traynes 
and freehould bands of the County," and to take care 
that they were " well arrayed " and " under the Conduct 
of such Captaynes as were persons of qualitie, honor, and 
considerable Estates and Interest in the County." 

But Shropshire was " not all on one side, like a Bridg- 
north election," and two men at least lost no time in 
shewing whose cause they had determined to support. 
Thomas Hunt, of Shrewsbury, assumed the position of 
Captain of Militia, then called up men and began to make 



preparations to defend the county town against the King; 
and Robert Charlton, of Apley, near Wellington, got 
together nearly two hundred recruits to join him. 
Charlton, assisted by the Rev. Samuel Fisher, " a godlie 
minister," afterwards at St. Mary's, Shrewsbury, had also 
tried to win over his neighbour, Sir Richard Newport, 
of High Ercall, though to no purpose. Sir Richard 
came to Shrewsbury and assisted Sir Francis Ottley, of 
Pitchford, in strongly opposing Hunt. The firm stand 
which these two made for the King had great effect in 
the county, where many were then wavering as to which 
side to take, and was well remembered also when the 
Parliament gained the upper hand ; for among the charges 
brought against Sir Richard was this that after opposing 
Captain Hunt " the said Sir Richard was one of the 
forwardest of the Committee of Array, being one himself 
to remove the magazine (which was by consent committed 
to ye charge of certaine well affected Aldermen in Shrews- 
bury) to Bridgnorth and Ludlow ; all which we believe, 
being many of us present, was the loss of this towne and 
ye cause why ye King was encouraged to come to Shrews- 

Whether owing to Newport's influence or not, on 
August 8th (a fortnight almost before the King raised his 
standard at Nottingham), the Grand Jury at the Shropshire 
Assizes, to the number of 103, signed a declaration 
averring they were " ready to obey His Majesty in all 
lawful ways for putting the county in a posture of defence, 
and to adventure their lives and fortunes in defence of 
his royal and sacred person." Many of the clergy of the 
county also signed a similar resolution a few days later. 

The receipt of such promises probably influenced 
Charles considerably in taking the final step of raising 
his standard. This he did on August 25th, 1642, a wet 
and stormy day, and at once used all the means in his 
power to rally an army round it, sending, e.g., orders to 
Sir Francis Ottley to raise a company of two hundred 


infantry, and take them without loss of time to Shrewsbury 
in order to secure the town and defend the loyal in- 

Leaving Nottingham on September I3th, Charles 
marched to Derby, his mind not yet made up whether to 
go to Chester or Shrewsbury, though resolved " to sit down 
near the borders of Wales, where the power of the Parlia- 
ment had been least prevalent, and where some regiments 
of foot were levying for his service." l At Derby, however, 
enthusiastic accounts reached him of the loyalty of 
Shropshire, and after a three nights' stay he proceeded to 
Uttoxeter on the l6th, to Stafford on the i/th, and to 
Wellington on the iQth. At this last town a rendezvous 
was held of all the royal forces, and after the military 
orders had been read to each regiment, the King placed 
himself in their centre, and made his famous declaration 
that he would "defend and maintain the Protestant 
Religion, and the just privileges and freedom of 

The next day, towards evening, His Majesty entered 
Shrewsbury amid the acclamations of the mayor, aldermen, 
and populace, and took up his residence at the Council 
House, several of his Court finding accommodation with the 
Headmaster of the Schools, Thomas Chaloner, and the 
Second Master, David Evans. 

But while all this was taking place, the Parliament 
had not been inactive. It had, in July, appointed the 
Earl of Essex as Captain General of its forces ; and he, 
knowing that the King's great object was to march on 
London, made it a special aim to keep him at a distance 
from the capital. For this end he placed garrisons in 
a series of towns from Northampton westward, to bar the 
King's path, and himself seized Worcester, not, however, 
without a smart skirmish with Prince Rupert. Though 
the Prince won reputation and renown as a dashing 
cavalry leader from this fight on September 23rd, he 

1 Clarendon. 


found Worcester too large and weak a place to hold with 
the forces at his disposal, and retreated towards Shrews- 
bury. Essex thereupon marched north to seize other 

Advancing towards Ludlow he drove in Rupert's out- 
posts, and attacked the town, which the Prince had 
fortified with entrenchments and the mounting of many 
guns. These opened fire as soon as the army of the 
Parliament came within range, and the contest lasted from 
about 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, October ist. At 
length the Royalists, having lost many men, were com- 
pelled to evacuate the castle and retreat. 

Ludlow in his power, Essex turned his attention to 
Bridgnorth, and the next day sent his Quartermaster 
there to arrange for the billeting of ten regiments of 
horse and nearly six thousand foot, a proceeding which 
was only carried through by proclaiming that those who 
refused would incur the danger of having their houses 
plundered by soldiers "accustomed to take upon them- 
selves the execution of justice without fear, or law, or 
religion." On the evening of Tuesday (October 4th), the 
Earl was expected to enter his new quarters. But about 
mid-day scouts brought word that a large force of Royalists 
under Lord Strange, Prince Maurice, and other officers, 
was drawing near. (For defence Bridgnorth had received 
from Worcester the night before five field pieces and 
three troops of horse.) A general muster of citizens was 
at once ordered, and every man from sixteen to fifty armed 
himself with what weapon he could obtain. The guns 
mounted upon the churches and other suitable positions 
gave the oncoming troops a warm reception. The bows 
and arrows of the townsmen, too, proved efficacious against 
the enemy's musketeers, who wore no defensive armour. 
While the skirmish was taking place Essex himself 
approached with several regiments of horse. To meet 
them Lord Strange drew up some of his own troopers in 
an open field, but attacked by cavalry front and rear they 


were soon thrown into confusion, and his whole force 
retreated, abandoning Bridgnorth to the Parliament. The 
casualty list of both sides was reported to be together 
about eighty killed and forty-five wounded ; but the 
Royalists lost Lord Paulet and six other officers taken 

The King had meanwhile left Shrewsbury on Friday, 
September 23rd, lunched at Whitchurch on his way, and 
reached Chester about 5 p.m. Here he stayed till the 
2 /th, and then returned 

On the morrow a muster was held of the Royal troops 
"in a meadow called the Gay," where also the principal 
gentry of the county had been convened by the new 
sheriff, Henry Bromley, of Shrawardine. To them and to 
the soldiers His Majesty made a speech, in which he 
expressed his satisfaction that the insolence and misfor- 
tunes which drove him about his kingdom had brought 
him to so good and faithful a part of it, and his hopes 
that they would not be great sufferers by the excesses of 
his soldiers, which he promised to do his best to restrain. 
He then told them he had sent for a mint, and would 
melt down all his plate and sell or mortgage all his own 
land to relieve the pressure, and adjured them to afford 
him pecuniary help. 

His last appeal did not fall on deaf ears. Sir Richard 
Newport gave 6,000, and was made a Peer ; Sir Thomas 
Lister, of Rowton, a purse of gold, and was knighted ; 
others helped as they could. And when the Mint arrived 
from Aberystwith " such proportions of plate and money 
were brought in that the army was fully and constantly 
paid" i 

The School authorities also lent 600 for the Royal 
Cause never to be returned A printing press was 
ordered, but apparently was not made great use of, for 
a year later complaints were sent to the Governor of 
Shrewsbury that his "press was idle, and did the King 

1 Clarendon. 


no service ; and, while the Parliament's pamphlets were in 
everyone's hands, no country work was published to 
antidote their poison." This was not a groundless charge, 
for most of the news letters which have been preserved 
are in the interests of the latter. 

On his last Sunday, Charles, at a celebration of the 
Holy Communion at St. Mary's Church, repeated the 
solemn protestation he had already made at Wellington. 
Then, on the Wednesday following, October I2th, 1642, 
orders were given for the whole army to move onward 
to Bridgnorth, now freed from the enemy. For Essex, on 
hearing how the King's army had grown in strength during 
the stay at Shrewsbury, had thought it prudent to evacuate 
this town and Ludlow, and retire back to Worcester. 
Most of the Royal forces proceeded by road, though the 
ammunition and some troops were conveyed by river. 

Immediately after Bridgnorth was reached a proclama- 
tion was published, accusing among others Humphrey 
Mackworth, Thomas Hunt, and Thomas Nichols, all of 
Shrewsbury, of treason, and ordering their arrest, but they 
had, to use an expression of Head Master Chaloner, 
" vespertilionised." On the I3th there was a rendezvous 
of the whole army, which appeared very cheerful. Two 
days later it left en route for Oxford and London ; and 
on the 25th the first pitched battle of the Civil War was 
fought at Edge Hill, where neither side could with truth 
claim a victory. 

After Edge Hill Shropshire seems to have been fairly 
quiet for a month or two. But towards the close of the 
year the principal gentry of the county entered on a mutual 
engagement or resolution to raise one entire regiment of 
dragoons (our modern mounted infantry), of which Sir 
Vincent Corbet, formerly Captain of Horse, was to be 
Commander-in-Chief. The clergy of the county at the 
same time offered him one hundred horse, and the towns- 
men of Shrewsbury promised a troop of sixty dragoons 
and two hundred foot for Sir Francis Ottley, Captain of 


their Town. December 2Oth was the day, and Battle&eld 
the place, for the money or the horses to be brought in. 

These troops soon saw active service, for directly they 
were enlisted they were ordered to Whitchurch as a guard 
against inroads from Nantwich, which latter town they 
were drawn out to attack on January 28th, but met with 
no success, for Sir William Brereton took a considerable 
number prisoner, and in his Despatches accused Sir 
Vincent of crawling away on all fours to escape 
recognition, and then running bareheaded for six miles. 
At all events this latter officer wrote the next day to 
Shrewsbury for all the surgeons possible to go at once 
to Whitchurch, for " there was great need of them." 

However a greater danger soon threatened Shropshire 
in the advance of the large Parliamentary army under 
Lord Brooke, reported to consist of 15,000 dragoons; 
and with him, to the consternation, no doubt, of many 
Royalists, were Sir John Corbet, of Adderley, Thomas 
Hunt and John Wingfield, of Shrewsbury, and many others 
who had been " plundered " as rebels. While his main 
army halted to besiege Lichfield Close, some advance 
guards entered the confines of the county at Newport. 

But on March 2nd Brooke met his death by a shot from 
the Cathedral while directing the bombardment, and all 
immediate danger from that side was averted by the battle 
of Hopton Heath on March ipth, in which the Parlia- 
mentarians were defeated, and the Earl of Northampton, 
the Royalist commander, killed. Sir William Brereton in 
his report of this fight says: "The Shropshire horse and 
dragoons came on with great resolution and boldness, and 
in very good order," which is high praise from an enemy. 

At the end of March the King, in order to cope with 
the increasing strength of his opponents, appointed Lord 
Capel as special commander of the troops in Shropshire 
and the adjacent counties, with Colonel-General Sir 
Nicholas Byron as second in command, and Sir Michael 
Woodhouse as Sergeant-Major of Foot under them. And 


no sooner had the new Commander reached Shrewsbury 
than he summoned a Council of War to meet in the 
Library of the School. The names of those present at 
its second sitting, on April 3rd, 1643, have been preserved. 
They were Arthur, Lord Capel, Lieut.-General of Salop ; 
Henry Bromley, High Sheriff; Sir Francis Ottley, 
Governor of Shrewsbury ; Sergt-Major General Wood- 
house ; Lieut-Col. Sir John Mennes, General of Ordnance 
to the Prince of Wales ; Sir Richard Lee, of Langley ; 
Sir John Weld, of Willey, ex-High Sheriff; Edward 
Cressett, Esq., of Upton Cressett ; and Eusebius Andrews, 

Capel also lost no time in inspecting his various 
garrisons, and ordered the defences of Shrewsbury, 
Ludlow, and Bridgnorth to be strengthened, and a more 
careful watch to be kept. At the first of these, according 
to Gough, 1 the gates of the Castle were repaired, many 
houses near it pulled down, and water brought from the 
river by means of a deep ditch. A strong fort was also 
built at the upper end of Frankwell, on the road leading 
to Oswestry and Welshpool, in which cannon were 
mounted. At Bridgnorth outworks were erected to guard 
the fords, and the Town Hall, which stood outside the 
walls, was destroyed. The North and Hungry Gates were 
also garrisoned. Troops, too, were billeted in many of 
tb** castles and manor houses of the county, amongst others 
Apley, Caus, and Tong, the water-way of the Severn being 
protected by the use of Ensdon House, Atcham Church, 
Bentall, Apley Park, and Buildwas, as block houses. Lord 
Capel himself, with Sir Michael Woodhouse, fixed his 
headquarters at Whitchurch in order to prevent incursions 
of the enemy from Nantwich, and to keep open communi- 
cation between Chester and Shrewsbury, Sir Vincent 
Corbet being posted with his Shropshire regiment at 

1 History of Middle, p. 176. 


To counteract the effects of Capel's activity, the 
Parliament on April loth, 1643, appointed a " Committee 
of Twenty for the Association of the Counties of Shrop- 
shire, Staffordshire, and Worcestershire." Its members 
were the chief local opponents of the King, with Sir John 
Corbet as President and Colonel-General, and Thomas 
Mytton, of Halston, as his Assistant-in-Chief. 

Danger now threatened the King's cause in the south 
of the county, for Sir William Waller,, having taken 
Hereford on April 25th, advanced to Ludlow and laid 
siege to the Castle. Unable, however, to obtain possession 
of this fortress at the first attempt, and in fear for his 
own safety, since the Cavaliers were very strong in the 
neighbourhood, he retreated once more to Hereford. 

But in a few weeks a heavy disaster befell His Majesty 
in another quarter. An entry in the parish register of 
the place says: 

The 30 day of May, 1643, Whitchurch was surprised and taken by 
Sir Will. Brewerton's Forces. 

The circumstances were these. Capel had drawn out 
the greater part of the garrison to accompany his 
expedition to relieve Warrington. Brereton learned of 
this through a prisoner, slipped by Woodhouse (the deputy 
governor), seized the town, killed many royalists, took 
forty prisoners, and as booty five hundred arms, and 
2,000 collected to pay Capel's soldiers. 

Next month, the Parliament, wishing to push matters, 
appointed Sir Thomas Middleton, of Chirk, as Sergeant- 
Major General of all its forces in North Wales and the 
bordering counties, and the Earl of Denbigh as Lieut- 
General for Shropshire, Cheshire, and Staffordshire. 

Capel, learning of this, at once thought of the 
undefended state of Oswestry, and on July loth rode over 
with one thousand horse and dragoons to entrench and 
fortify the town, and by this probably saved it for a 
time for the King. 


Up to now the Parliament had no garrison of any size 
in Shropshire. The first step, therefore, of the new officers 
and the committee was to discover a place whence they 
could most successfully annoy their opponents. Wem was 
the only unoccupied town near the centre of the county, 
and though only eight miles from Whitchurch and ten 
from Shrewsbury, it was determined to seize it. Accord- 
ingly, Colonels Mytton, Hunt, and Mackworth, accom- 
panied by the Rev. Richard Baxter, now a military 
chaplain, got together a body of troops, marched to Wem, 
and set to work to fortify it. Ten days after their coming 
Sir Thomas Middleton himself arrived with seven great 
pieces of ordnance, four cases of drakes, 1 forty carriages 
of ammunition, and a large body of recruits from London. 

Emboldened by this great access of strength, he, with 
his colleague Brereton, determined to make an attempt 
on Shrewsbury, whose garrison was now mainly the Train 
Bands, the regular troops having gone away on the march 
which ended in the first battle of Newbury (September 
2Oth) a disastrous day for the King. They, therefore, 
collected about seven thousand men and began the siege. 
They "made their approaches very near the town, and 
gained the bridge, whereby they raised their batteries to 
the great annoyance of the enemy," captured " some part 
of the suburbs," and slew or took many of the defenders 
when they made a sally. 

News of Shrewsbury's peril having reached Oxford, 
Prince Rupert instantly started to its aid with 3,500 horse, 
picking up on his way the royal forces at Coventry. 
Hearing of his rapid approach, Brereton and Middleton 
raised the siege, and retired to await another opportunity. 

To annoy Capel and prevent his incursions into the 
neighbourhood of Wem, Brereton quartered two or three 

1 A drake was a small field-piece of narrow bore; and "a case" or 
"box " of drakes was a piece of artillery consisting of several barrels united 
together, somewhat after the fashion of a mitrailleuse, which could be 
fired simultaneously, or in quick succession. 


companies of dragoons in Loppington Church. 1 This 
being looked upon as a piece of impertinence at Shrews- 
bury, Capel attempted a surprise. Failing in this, his 
men attacked the church, the garrison refusing to yield 
and firing from the windows. Thinking it hazardous to 
life to attempt a storm, orders were given to fire the roof 
and the porch. An officer of Capel's regiment, describing 
the skirmish in a letter to his lordship's daughter, says 
that his commander " shewed us great gallantry and skill 
in storming and taking Loppington Church, where the 
enemy had fixed a garrison, till my lord forced them out, 
and was the busiest among his soldiers in carrying faggots 
to the porch." Then a surrender was made, and the 
prisoners at once conducted by the Royalist horse to 
Shrewsbury. Brereton, as soon as he had heard of their 
peril, sent a strong force to assist his garrison, and though 
it came too late to prevent their capture it overtook Capel's 
foot and defeated them with the loss of Captain Needham, 
son of Lord Kilmorey, and other prisoners. 

This partial defeat, and the presence of the garrison 
at Wem rankled in Capel's mind, and he began to make 
arrangements to deprive the enemy of their new conquest. 
Therefore, collecting all the troops which could be spared 
from the neighbouring garrisons, he assembled them at 
Ellesmere, in number about three thousand, with six 
guns. The first night the camp was at Colemere, whence 
they marched to Whitchurch, which had not been retained 
by the enemy. Middleton, expecting the attack on Wem, 
drew out most of the garrison to Frees Heath, and waited 
long for Capel. But the latter suddenly altered his course, 
and at full speed made for Nantwich on ascertaining that 
most of the soldiers stationed there had been drawn out 
to Wem. There were, however, enough left to repulse his 
assault. Middleton, on his part, led his men hard after 

1 Churches were so frequently used by both sides in the Civil War 
for military purposes simply because they were often practically the only 
building in the place capable of defence. This was also the case in the 
Franco- Prussian war of 1870-1. 


Capel, who at their approach doubled back to make an 
attempt on Wem in their absence. Here he arrived on 
Tuesday morning, at once dismounted about eighty horse, 
and sent them to storm the entrenchments, which they 
succeeded in gaining ; but several of their officers having 
been wounded, and Col. Wynn killed, they drew back and 
could not be induced to try a second time. This was more 
than Capel could bear, and in rage and grief he refused to 
leave the trenches his men had so lately mastered, but 
took out his pipe and proceeded to light it, though all the 
while exposed to a hot fire from the enemy's musketeers, 
his friends having at last to force him away. The casualty 
list at Wem shows what was more than once forgotten by 
our officers in South Africa, the usual costliness of a 
frontal attack on an entrenched position, for the garrison 
only lost in killed Major Marrow and two men, but there 
fell of the storming party Colonel Wynn and between 
thirty and forty soldiers. 

By the time a retreat to Shrewsbury was ordered, 
Middleton's forces had come near enough to enter on a 
pursuit, which was followed up to Lee Bridge. Here, 
however, Capel fought a determined rearguard action in 
order that his artillery and baggage might reach safety. 
And though in the end the Parliamentary troops gained 
the bridge, it was with a loss of five killed and fifteen 
wounded, while on the other side ten were killed and 
many wounded and made prisoners, among those 
mortally hurt being Sir Thomas Scriven, of Frodesley, 
Governor of Whitchurch. But ere this the field train had 
reached its destination without loss. 

This success was the last gained by the Parliament for 
some two months, for the cessation of hostilities in Ireland 
enabled the King to recall his troops from there, and 
also to enlist on his side many native Irish. In fact, on 
November 2ist Middleton sent word to the House of 
Commons that the Royalist forces had so increased in 
Shropshire and the neighbouring counties that he must be 


supplied with more men and money to cope with them. 
He also withdrew most of his ammunition and stores from 
Wem to Nantwich for its greater security. 

But about this time things were not going on satis- 
factorily at Shrewsbury. Disturbances arose between 
Capel's troops and the townsmen, which ended in a riot, 
in which six or seven of the latter were killed by the 
former, an act of which the commander took no cog- 
nizance. The ill-feeling engendered by this caused his 
removal, and the appointment of a new general in Prince 
Rupert, known to readers of John Inglesant as the 
Palsgrave. But before he could take up his command the 
King's cause had suffered a heavy disaster in Shropshire. 

Owing to the crew of a ship conveying ammunition 
from Bristol to Chester mutinying, and taking the cargo 
to Liverpool, then in the hands of the Parliament, the 
Governor of Chester was in great want of that article. 
He, therefore, sent a strong convoy to fetch a supply from 
Shrewsbury. There were, however, many traitors in this 
town ; one at least in a high position. For the Seques- 
tration Committee of Shropshire, on the close of the war, 
wrote : 

When we first took footing within this county and were penned up 
in that poor garrison of Wem, having ye enemy round about us, his 
residence being ye most part in Shrewsbury, Sir William Owen, of 
Condover, Knight, who was in the [King's] Commission of Array, held 
correspondence with us, and by his faithful constant intelligence to us 
of ye enemy's motions and designs, was a great means of our security 
and preservation in that place ; and in ye meantime of that intercourse 
and compliance with us, he freely offered us the possession of his house, 
being a strong stone building within 3 myles distance of Shrewsbury, 
and might have speedily been made defensible had we been in a condition 
to have accepted it, and to have garrisoned it for the Parliament. 1 

Sir William, or some other " false brother " in Shrews- 
bury, sent intelligence of this convoy to Wem. Colonel 
Mytton determined to attempt its capture. On the way 
from Shrewsbury towards Chester, a halt for the night 

1 Signed at Shrewsbury on May 3oth, 1646, by Humphrey Mackworth, 
Robert Charlton, Andrew Lloyd, Leighton Owen, and Robert Clive. 


was made at Ellesmere. Mytton ordered out horse and 
foot, made a thoroughly unexpected night attack, and 
succeeded in taking Sir Nicholas Byron (Governor of 

Front an] 


[Old Engraving 

Chester), Sir Richard Willis (General of Horse), five other 
officers, 100 troopers, 250 horses and arms, and all the 

Cheered by this successful coup de main, Mytton 


determined to try a stratagem on Oswestry. Its Governor, 
Colonel Lloyd, of Llanforda, was a bon vivant, and liked 
a good dinner. It was proposed that a seeming friend 
should invite him to dine at his house ; a troop of cavalry 
should surprise him there, take him before Oswestry, and 
force him to order his officers to surrender the town. 
Unfortunately for the success of this plot two of Mytton's 
scouts were taken, and Lloyd, discovering what was on 
foot, hurried back to his castle. 

The presence of the garrison at Wem must have been, 
to say the least, very inconvenient to the inhabitants of 
Shrewsbury. And there is probably some truth in the 
sarcastic words of the Informator Rusticus, a Parlia- 
mentary news sheet, when it declares that the fortifying 
of that place is 

Somewhat offensive and prejudicial to the ladies in Shrewsbury, who 
by this means are prevented of taking the fresh air and repairing to their 
country habitation, by which it is to be presumed their blood will wax 
pale, and they frustrate of that delectable recreation as the country might 
afford them. 

Be this as it may, Sir Francis Ottley did his best to 
curb inroads from Wem by posting soldiers in Moreton 
Corbet Castle and Albright Hussey Manor House. Con- 
cerning the garrison at the latter place, Gough, in his 
History of Middle* tells the following story: 

The garrison soldiers from Wem made theire outroads many times 
allmost to the walls of Shrewsbury ; and to prevent this insolence, the 
Governor of Shrewsbury placed a garrison att Albright Hussey [near 
Battlefield], and [Sergeant Preece, alias] Scoggan, was governor of it. 
A party of Horse of the Parliament side came on a Sunday, in the 
afternoone, and faced this garrison, and Scoggan, standing in a window 
in a upper room, cryed aloud that the others heard him, " Lett such a 
number goe to such a place, and soe many to such a place, and let 
twenty come with mee " ; (butt hee had but eight in all in the house). 
And Scoggan seeing one Philip Bunny among the enemyes, who was a 
taylor, borne in Hadnall, hee tookea fowling gun, and called to Bunny 
and said, " Bunny have at thee ! " and shott him through the legge and 
killed his, horse. The Parliament soldiers took up Bunny and departed. 

I History of Middle, p. 81. 


Soon after this the garrison was recalled att the request of Mr. Pelham 
Corbett, who feared that the Parliament soldiers would come and fire 
his buildings. .- 

Prince Rupert arrived in Shrewsbury in February, 
1643-4, and in a very short time exhibited to Shropshire 
men his famous dash and skill as a leader of Horse. " For 
Rupert never comes but to conquer or to fall." It having 
been reported that a column about seven hundred strong, 
under Sir William Fairfax and Colonel Mytton, were 
quartering at Market Drayton, he drew out some of his 
own men to attempt a surprise. But the Shrewsbury 
traitors sent word beforehand of the intended attack, and 
when he neared the town the Prince found a strong body 
of hostile cavalry drawn out ready to meet him. He was 
with the vanguard of only two troops (the main body 
being nearly two miles behind), but without a moment's 
hesitation led them to the charge with such reckless 
courage that they dashed the opposing squadrons into 
fragments, killed twenty-two, and took Fairfax's colours 
and one hundred horses without losing a single man them- 
selves. After bivouacing that night in Market Drayton, 
the Royalists returned next morning to Shrewsbury un- 

But now a fierce struggle was going on in the south of 
the county. When the Civil War broke out, T Iopton 
Castle was the property of Henry Wallop, one of the 
fiercest of Republicans. Naturally it was garrisoned for 
the Parliament, but apparently not till February i8th, 
1643-4. Samuel More, of Linley, was put in command of 
the sixteen men who were first sent to hold it. After 
repulsing one attack with this handful, he and his 
Lieutenant, Major Phillips, sent for reinforcements to 
Brampton Brian, but only enough came to make the 
garrison thirty-two all told. They had not long to wait 
before Sir Lewis Kirke, from Ludlow, began the 
investment. His troops soon made a breach in the outer 
wall, but on rushing through, appear to have been caught 



like rats in a trap between that and the inner one, for 
they lost Captain Vaughan, of Burlton, and many others 
before they could effect a retreat. In a day or two came 
three pieces of ordnance, and early the next morning 
after their arrival, a summons was sent to the castle that 
if More did not surrender before the firing of one gun 
he and his men must expect no quarter. A defiant answer 
was returned, and the artillery opened fire. The shots 
killed one of the garrison, wounded two more, and made 
some impression on the walls, but the attack which 
followed was repulsed with a loss to the besieged of one 
slain and three or four hurt, and a much heavier one to 
the besiegers. The garrison, too few in number to serve 
in reliefs, were at length worn out with fatigue, and 
desired Colonel More and Major Phillips to ask for terms. 
The reply was that the surrender must be unconditional, 
for no other would be accepted. To this More at last 
agreed, and gave up the castle. But angered, no doubt, 
by the obstinate defence of such a small force, though 
at the same time acting strictly according to military law, 
Sir Lewis Kirke ordered all except More to instant 
execution. In the Register of Hopton is this entry : 
" Occisi f uere 29 in castro Hoptoniensi, inter quos 
Henricus Gregorye, senex," which tells the fate of brave, 
if in this instance misguided, men. 1 

Hopton lost, the Parliament had now only three 
garrisons in Shropshire, viz. : Wem, Longford, and Tong. 
The Committee, therefore, determined to make an attempt 
to take Wellington Church and Apley Castle, both at 

1 Col. More does not deny in his account that the surrender was 
wholly unconditional, indeed he explained to the garrison of Brampton 
Brian, when advising them to surrender, that Sir Lewis Kirke had in no 
way broken his pledge. " The custom we hold in warres is to punish, 
and that with death, those who wilfully opinionate themselves to defend 
a place which by rules of warre cannot be kept," says an old authority. 
This custom was accepted by both sides. In July, 1645, the Parliament 
"put to the sword" (i.e., killed in cold blood) the whole (to the number 
of seventy) of the Royalist garrison of Canon Frome, Hereford, for presuming 
to hold an indefensible position. 



that time held for the King. With this object Mytton 
drew out five hundred men from Wem and Longford, and 
was successful in both enterprises, for a news-letter 
says : " Col. Mytton took Wellington Church and Apley 
House, having kill'd many, and taken 28 prisoners." 

Leaving a strong force in the latter place, the main body 
were returning to their quarters when a hastily-collected 
band of Royalists from Apley Park (near Bridgnorth), 
Benthall, and Shifnal Manor House, suddenly fell upon and 
completely routed them, with a loss of fifty-five killed, 
including Captain Lyon, and seventy-two prisoners. 

News of the loss of Apley Castle, and the plundering 
of Mr. Hanmer, its owner, to the amount of 1,500, was 
brought to Shrewsbury, and instantly Sir William 
Vaughan and Colonel Ellis were ordered out to retake 
it. On Sunday, March 24th, 1643-4, they got there and 
opened such a tempest of cannon shot that in less than 
an hour the defenders offered to surrender. Their terms 
were too high for Colonel Ellis, so he blocked up all the 
ways of escape with his cavalry, then led on his musketeers 
to the storm, and Apley Castle was soon in his power. 
In it were captured ten officers and seventy-three other 
prisoners, and a great store of arms, for it had been 
Mytton's intention to send a considerable number of 
soldiers from Wem to strengthen the garrison he had left 

Foiled at Apley, and smarting under defeat, Mytton 
determined to try another quarter, so drew out all the forces 
he could get from Longford, long, Wem, and Stafford, 
in order to surprise or storm Lilleshall Abbey, then held 
for the King by Sir Richard Leveson. But Colonel Ellis 
and Sir William Vaughan had billeted for the night at 
Wellington, and hearing of Mytton's move, sent word to 
Lilleshall that Captain Bostock (the officer in command) 
should bring out his garrison to join with their troops. 
A collision between these united forces and Mytton 
occurred near Lilleshall, in which the Royalists were 


completely victorious, killing and wounding nearly two 
hundred of the enemy, among the latter Captain Timothy 
Turner, eldest son of the loyal Recorder of Shrewsbury, 
and taking prisoner five officers, forty troopers, and many 
privates of foot. 

As soon as Rupert returned from Newark, he 
determined to reduce the Parliamentarian garrisons at 
Longford and Tong. The first he approached himself, and 
so great was the terror of his name that directly his herald 
advanced to the walls with the summons the garrison 
opened the gates and surrendered on the Prince's own 

The re-taking of Tong Castle, which had been wrested 
from the King in July, 1643, and had been "a great 
eye sore to his Maj.' good subjects who pass'd y* road " 
ever since, was a longer affair. Its reduction was 
entrusted to Colonel Tyllier, but he was disturbed in the 
siege by a rebel force from Stafford, and apparently had 
to withdraw for a time and await reinforcements before 
he could succeed. This he did on Friday, April 26th, 

A week earlier the castle of Brampton Brian, about 
half a mile from the county's southern border, had 
surrendered "at mercy only" to Ludlow's governor. In 
the last autumn it had successfully resisted a seven weeks' 
investment, Brilliana, Lady Harley, having bravely 
defended her home while her husband kept out of harm's 
way in London. 

These successes encouraged the King's party to make 
another attempt on Wem. This time they did not try a 
direct assault, but quartered some two thousand troops 
in its vicinity to reduce it by starvation. It was, however, 
now so strongly fortified, and so well supplied with troops, 
ordnance, and provisions, and had such expert soldiers in 
Colonel Mytton and his deputy, Major William Goldegay, 
as Commanders, that there seemed no chance of success, 


and after a short time the enveloping forces were with- 

In the beginning of June Prince Rupert was at 
Chester, and being short of ammunition sent to Oswestry 
for some. Mytton made an attempt to capture the convoy. 
Though he failed in his immediate enterprise, he learned 
from a prisoner the weakness of the garrison in the latter 
town. With him knowledge meant action, and that very 
evening, June 2Oth, he wrote to ask the Earl of Denbigh 
for additional men in order to attack Oswestry. Denbigh 
at once sent all he could spare from Stafford. These 
marched through Wem (picking up on the way Mytton's 
regiments stationed there) and Ellesmere, and reached 
Oswestry by 12 o'clock on Saturday, June 23rd. The 
cavalry were posted on every road to prevent escape, and 
then the infantry proceeded to storm the church, which 
stood outside the town walls, and was held as an outpost. 
After half-an-hour's fight an entrance was forced, where- 
upon the guard fled into the steeple, but were " fetched 
down with powder," and twenty-seven prisoners were made. 
Then a sacre was brought up, one of the town gates 
blown in, and, despite a certain amount of resistance from 
those inside, Denbigh entered at the head of his horse. 
On this the garrison took refuge in the castle. An 
attempt to fire the castle gates that evening with pitch 
proved a failure. Early next morning it was to be 
repeated, and as an officer went to perform this duty he 
was met by a party of women, who fell on their knees 
and addressed him piteously in Welsh. Obtaining an 
interpreter, he learned that they prayed that the castle 
should not be blown up till they had spoken to their 
husbands and children and the officers. Denbigh agreed 
to this, and offered mercy if they would surrender. Their 
conditions were not of a kind to be acceptable to him, so 
he ordered his men to go through with the attack. A 
young soldier named Cranage, being " well rewarded and 
well lined with sacke," was persuaded to hang a bomb 


on the castle gate. By creeping from house to house he 
managed to do so, and the explosion burst it open. There- 
upon the garrison at once agreed to surrender on a promise 
of their lives only. 

The Royalists lost no time in attempting to retake 
their lost fortress. Sir Fulke Hunkes, Governor of 
Shrewsbury, and Colonel Marrow, Deputy Governor of 
Chester, marched out with a considerable army, but 
traitors gave word to Colonel Mytton of its approach. He 
at once sent despatch riders to Sir Thomas Middleton for 
aid. Hunkes, pressing the siege vigorously, had re- 
captured the church before news reached him that 
Middleton, by forced marches, was drawing near with a 
large army. Marrow was thereupon ordered to intercept 
his advance at Whittington. Here the battle was bravely 
contested on both sides. " Three several times the skir- 
mish was doubtful, each side being forced so often to 
retreat," reported Middleton himself. But his rearguard 
of foot at length came upon the scene of conflict, and 
turned the Royalists into hasty flight. Pursued to Felton 
Heath, their line of retreat was marked by arms, clothes, 
and provisions thrown aside to lighten their steeds for 
speedier pace. 

On news of this disaster, Hunkes, to save his guns, 
ordered a retirement to Shrewsbury, and succeeded in 
reaching that town with slight loss. Denbigh on his part 
determined to push home this success, and ordering a 
general rendezvous on Knockin Heath, the next day 
" made a trial of Shrewsbury." Forcing the passage over 
Montford Bridge, and driving back its guard, he and 
Mytton got as far as the fort at Frankwell, but they found 
the outworks well defended, and when Colonel Marrow 
made a spirited sally with the remnant of his cavalry, were 
compelled to retreat with some loss. 

On the very day of Hunkes' discomfiture at Oswestry 
the King's cause in the north was utterly ruined at 
Marston Moor, and Prince Rupert, who had drawn out 


all the troops he could get from Shropshire (thereby 
weakening every garrison), was completely defeated. 

The next few months of 1644 saw many skirmishes 
between the contending forces, in which the King's troops 
generally came off second best. For instance, in August, 
Prince Rupert's own regiment of horse was surprised and 
cut up at Welshpool by Colonel Mytton from Oswestry, 
and in September the King's army (mainly picked troops 
drawn from Shrewsbury and Ludlow) were routed at 
Montgomery with a loss of 500 killed and between 1, 200 
and 1,500 prisoners. 1 

A new officer now came into Shropshire to help the 
Parliamentary Committee Lieut-Col. Reinkling, pro- 
bably a foreign soldier of fortune and henceforth 
whenever there was any desperate enterprise to be under- 
taken, or a forlorn hope to be led, we always read of 
him in the front rank. 

Keeping an eye ever on Shrewsbury, the Committee 
considered the first step must be the capture of Moreton 
Corbet Castle. So on September loth they entrusted the 
attempt to Lieut.-Colonel Reinkling from Wem and Lord 
Calvin from Stoke-on-Tern. A night attack was agreed 
upon. Reaching their destination at about i.o a.m., they 
posted their drummers a field's distance from the house 
with orders to sound the march as soon as the assault 
began ; then Reinkling in a loud voice pretended to post 
such a regiment in one place and such a regiment in 
another, thus making the garrison believe that a very 
large force had come against them. Then the real attack 
began. The Lieut. -Colonel and four men managed to 
force a way in through a window. Those inside, misled 

1 The terrible slaughter at the battle of Montgomery made a deep 
impression on the minds of the country folk, who for years believed that 
the ghosts of the dead haunted the battle-field. In the Diary of the 
Rev. Philip Henry we read: " 1661. Dec. 20 near Montgomery about 
Sunsett was seen by several p'sons a compleat body of horse marching 
two on a breast between 500 and 1000 in ye Road but no sign thereof 
risible upon ye ground the next morning : affirm'd upon Oath." 


by the darkness, and thinking that a large number had 
entered, instantly called for quarter, and before they 
discovered their mistake and attacked the gallant five, 
many more had come in. When morning dawned Reink- 
ling and Calvin perceived how strongly the house was 
fortified, and declared they would never have attempted 
an assault if it had been daytime. Colonel Fenwicke was 
appointed Governor for the Parliament, and a little later 
" therein manfully withstood a sharp assault " of the 
Shrewsbury Royalists. 

Prince Rupert, the nominal Commander-in-Chief, being 
so often absent from the county, Sir William Vaughan 
(who had been educated at Shrewsbury School, and had 
seen much service in Ireland) was about this time made 
General of Shropshire. His troops were principally 
Anglo-Irish, whom he quartered at Shrawardine, Caus, 
High Ercall, Lilleshall, and Dawley, now depleted of 
their former defenders by the Prince for service elsewhere. 
Shrawardine was chosen by Vaughan for headquarters, 
and by his energy he earned among his enemies the 
soubriquet of the " Devil of Shrawardine." 

Mytton at Wem determined, if possible, to curb this 
activity as soon as he could, and hearing that it was his 
custom to attend the Holy Communion at the church 
outside the castle, came with a party of horse on Sunday, 
October I7th, and surprised Sir William and several other 
officers on their knees. Seizing him, Mytton declared he 
would shoot him with his own hand unless he instantly 
ordered the castle to be surrendered. As for dying, replied 
Vaughan, they could never find him better prepared ; as 
for surrendering the castle, it was not in his power, for 
his deputy governor was now in command. Mytton, how- 
ever, ordered him to be brought before the castle, and 
drawing a pistol threatened to shoot him dead in sight 
of the garrison unless they instantly opened the gates. 
But Vaughan, with a violent effort, wrenched himself free 
from his captors, and rushed towards the drawbridge 

/I '///J .jl/*MR V i /' 


shouting " shoot." His men thereupon opened such a hot 
fire from the walls that no pursuit was possible, though 
many muskets and pistols were discharged after him. Then 
the tables were turned, for a sally being made, Mytton 
lost five killed and nine taken before he could make good 
a retreat. 

A similar Sunday arrest had taken place only a week 
before at Chirbury. The Vicar there, a man of pro- 
nounced Puritan opinions, on the taking of Montgomery 
Castle by his party in September, had begun the habit 
of preaching two disloyal sermons each Sunday. Captain 
Pelham Corbet, of Caus Castle, was content to look on 
as long as it was only one, but two were more than he 
could bear. He therefore sent a troop of horse, who, 
arresting the preacher in his pulpit, brought him prisoner 
to Caus ; " and so," says the Chronicler, " the people were 
left without their pastor, to be without any sermon because 
they had not been content with one a day." l 

The month of January, 1644-5, saw a new Commander- 
in-Chief for Shropshire in Prince Maurice, Rupert's 
brother, but far inferior to him in ability. He found the 
King's cause in very low condition, and all the attempts 
of his commission of array futile in raising fresh forces. 
At this time there were in the neighbourhood of Clun 
and Bishops Castle more than one thousand men in arms, 
" standing out against both sides, neither for the King 
nor for the Parliament, but only upon their own guard 
for the preservation of their lives and fortunes." These 
resolutely declined to take any part with the Prince. All 

1 Sunday arrests seem to have been the usual thing in the case of 
loyal ministers; e.g., Parliamentary "soldiers both horse and foot came 
upon the Lord's day from Nantwich to Whitchurch thinking to find the 
Rev. Thomas Orpe at church in the morning service, but missed him." 
William Hoi way, afterwards, at Middle, "was siezed on in the time of 
service by some fellows who presented their pistols at him and carried 
him away." "Laurence Seddon, Rector of Worthen, was dragged! uot 
of his pulpit and sent a prisoner to Shrewsbury, where he continued till 
the Royalist party made a reprisal of a Factious preacher, for whom he 
was exchanged." So Capt. Corbet was only following the custom of the 
other side. 


efforts, also, to call out the posse comitatus of the county- 
were useless. The garrison, too, of Shrewsbury, was in 
a state of mutiny, having received no pay for a long time. 
This latter state of affairs was well known to the Com- 
mittee, who were only waiting for a convenient opportunity 
to take the town. 

Colonel Mytton's first attempt was on Saturday, 
February 8th, when he attacked the fort at Frankwell as 
the townsfolk were busy at market, but was repulsed 
with loss. 

A few days later, Sir John Price, Governor of Mont- 
gomery Castle, hearing that the King's Commission for 
raising forces in Shropshire was sitting at Hinton, near 
Pontesbury, sent a flying column thither, captured the 
whole of them to the number of fifteen (including 
Sir F. Ottley, 1 the Royalist High Sheriff, Richard Fowler, 
of Harnage, and Roger Owen), and brought them to 

A similar column was also, about February i6th> 
despatched from Wem to Apley Park, Bridgnorth, where 
Sir William Whitmore and his son Sir Thomas, with 
" divers other gentlemen of quality, and about 60 common 
soldiers," were surprised, and conveyed to Wem without 
interference, so secretly was the affair carried out. 

In the meantime, Prince Maurice (who had reached 
his command on February 5th), thinking that after the 
repulse at Frankwell it would be safe to draw out a 
considerable part of the garrison to accompany him to 
Chester, did so on February I4th. His movements were 
well known through the instrumentality of the traitors in 
Shrewsbury, and the very evening after his departure 
Lieutenant-Colonel Reinkling, with Colonels Mytton, 

1 The Perfect Passages of Feb. igth to Feb. 25th, 1644-5, ^ as a some- 
what scurrilous description of this officer .-"Sif Francis Oately that was 
the Governor of Shrewsbury and for his disservice to the Parliament made 
a knight since these warres, but of old was for his red-nose, and love to 
the pot known by the name of the Ale-conner. 


Hunt, and Lloyd, and Captain Clive, marched from Wem 
to the attack. The night, however, proved so dark that, 
missing their way at the Old Heath, they proceeded 
towards Pimley and Atcham Bridge, and only found out 
their mistake when they had got too far to return to the 
attack on the town itself. Reinkling made the best of 
the situation, and took possession of the Bridge, and 
captured its garrison stationed in the church close by. 

In no way disconcerted, the Committee determined 
on a third attempt. Elaborate arrangements were drawn 
up. Reinkling was again to be in supreme command ; 
two thousand pounds were promised to the forces from 
Staffordshire and Cheshire, and a like sum to those of 
Shropshire, soldiers from the garrisons of Wem, Moreton 
Corbet, and Stoke-on-Tern, with special rewards for 
special acts of bravery ; but if any soldier was guilty 
of plundering, he should lose his reward and be tried 
for his life by martial law. 

The date fixed was Friday, February 2ist, 1644-45, 
on which day they set out on their march in the evening, 
and, despite cold and darkness, reached Shrewsbury about 
four o'clock in the morning. Reinkling, with a small body 
of musketeers and some carpenters, obtained boats and 
rowed up the fiver to the palisades under the Castle. 
These they found already broken through from inside. 
For Mytton, in his Despatch, writes : " Mr. Huson, a 
minister which came out of Ireland with the enemy, and 
some three months since came from them to us, and 
Captain Willier likewise that came from the enemy about 
a month before, took axes and sledges and brake down 
the palisades and made way for our firelocks to enter." 
These two told the password and then guided Reinkling's 
musketeers and some dismounted troopers of Lieutenant 
Benbow under the Council House residence of Sir 
William Owen and into the town. The gate at Castle 
Foregate was opened, and the rest of the army entered. 
There was a skirmish in the Market Place, where the 


main guard made some resistance and killed two of 
Myttori's horses, but surrendered on the fall of their 
captain. The Castle held out for a few hours after the 
taking of the town itself, but then capitulated on the 
cowardly conditions that the English soldiers should 
leave their arms and have passes to Ludlow, but the 
Irish should " looke thorow a Hempen window " (i.e., be 
hanged). " Which," reported Mytton, " is performed." l 
The men in the fort at Frankwell continued to resist till 
the evening, and tnen surrendered " upon bare quarter of 
their lives." Though the Committee did their best to 
prevent pillage, at least as far as well-wishers to their 
cause were concerned, several tradesmen were ruined by 
the destruction of their goods. Very little blood was 
shed, the casualty list of killed being Captain Needham 
and five Royalist soldiers, with only two of Mytton's men. 
The prisoners comprised eight baronets and knights, 
forty officers, two hundred soldiers (including many Irish), 
fifteen guns, two thousand stands of arms, one hundred 
barrels of powder, and money and plate to the value of 
forty thousand pounds, with a considerable quantity of 
other goods and treasure sent there for safety. Captain 
Crowe, Commandant of the Castle, managed to escape to 
Gloucester, where, however, he was put on trial and 
hanged, either for treachery or cowardice. 

While Lancashire is still proud of Latham House and 
the Countess of Derby, Hereford of Brampton Brian and 
Lady Harley, and the Isle of Wight of Carisbrook Castle 
and the Countess of Portland, it seems that Shropshire 
also had its heroic lady commander, for Rowton Castle 
is said to have been gallantly defended by Lady Lister 
for a fortnight after her husband had been captured at 
the taking of Shrewsbury, till Mytton gave her honourable 
terms of surrender. 2 

1 Gough (p. 41) and Clarendon (vol. ii., pt. ii. p. 818) tell the story 
of Rupert's retaliation, but there is no room to give it here. 

2 The late Rev. G. W. Fisher, Annals of Shrewsbury School, p. 153. 


The loss of Shrewsbury was the greatest blow which 
had yet fallen on the Royal cause in Shropshire, and one 
immediate result was that Prince Maurice felt compelled 
to withdraw the soldiers from most of the smaller 
garrisons. Among others, he abandoned and rendered 
incapable of defence the castles of Broncroft, Hoigate, 
Rouse, 1 and Tong, with Lea Hall and Madeley House. 
Moreton Corbet Castle was at the same time dismantled 
by the Committee lest it should be seized again by the 
King's party, and because, with the county town in their 
hands, it was of no further use to them. 

As a small set off against all these disasters, the 
Royalists won a victory on March i8th at Knockin Heath, 
where Sir Edmund Gary defeated a strong party of horse 
and foot under Sir Thomas Middleton, whose loss in killed 
included a major, a lieutenant, a cornet, and many common 
soldiers ; in prisoners, two captains and twenty-eight 
privates. They were also successful at High Ercall. 

Encouraged by the capture of Shrewsbury, the 
Parliamentarians made a determined attempt on the 
manor-house of Lord Newport, at Ercall, and suffered an 
undoubted repulse ; for after Middleton had besieged it 
for seventeen days (for four of which he played upon it 
unceasingly with his great guns), and had made five 
assaults on the works, the besieged, under Sir Vincent 
Corbet, Col. Thomas Corbet, and Capt. Armourer, the 
Governor, made a sally, captured their ordnance "three 
great pieces and a mortar piece," and inflicted such loss in 
killed and wounded that the assailants retired precipitately. 

Ludlow was attacked on April 24th by Colonel Birch, 
Governor of Hereford, but he, as Sir William Waller 
before him, found the place too strong to carry by storm, 
and after a short attempted siege thought it wiser to 
retire than wait for Princes Rupert and Maurice, who 
were advancing to the town's relief with all their avail- 
able forces. 

l I have been unable to identify and locate this Castle of Rouse. 


In May Charles I. paid a hurried visit to the county 
on his way from his winter quarters at Oxford to Chester, 
with about 1 1,000 men. On Saturday, the i/th, he 
marched through Tong and Newport to Chetwynd, where 
he stayed till Tuesday. Thence he journeyed to Market 
Drayton. During the halt here an attempt was made 
under General Langdale to surprise Wem, at that date 
slenderly garrisoned, but it resulted in total failure, owing 
to tardy marching. On Thursday the Royal army left 
the county on the road which ended on June I4th in the 
complete reverse at Naseby. 

News of this total defeat reaching the Committee for 
Shropshire, they began to bestir themselves, and to 
attempt at once the reduction of the smaller royal 
garrisons. With this intent Lieut-Colonel Reinkling and 
Colonel Mackworth, with 800 men, were despatched south- 
ward to capture Stokesay, then held for the King, and to 
repair and re -fortify Broncroft, slighted by Maurice after 
the fall of Shrewsbury, and so to cut off Ludlow from the 
rich dales of Stretton and Corve, and starve out the town 
which Waller and Birch had failed to take. In both these 
purposes they were successful, despite the attack of a large 
force under Sir Lewis Kirke, Governor of Ludlow, who 
was defeated at Norton, near Stokesay, with the loss of 
four pieces of ordnance, 400 stand of arms, and 300 

While all this was being enacted in the south, Colonel 
Hunt, from Shrewsbury, marched against Caus Castle, and 
after an investment of twelve days compelled it to 
capitulate on June 23rd. Then he turned his attention to 
Shrawardine Castle, which, on June 29th, " was cowardly 
surrendered up to the Parliament forces under the com- 
mand of Colonel Hunt, Colonel Lloyd, and Mr. Charlton, 
after five dayes seige." l 

Elated by these successes, a second attempt was made 
on High Ercall Manor House, but again disaster followed, 

l Shrawardine Register. 


for Sir William Vaughan (smarting no doubt under the 
loss of Shrawardine, taken while he was away with the 
King) made a sudden onslaught on the besiegers' lines, 
killed about 100, took nearly 400 prisoners, including 
Colonel Reinkling, with all the baggage, and totally routed 
the rest. 

In July Lieut-General Cromwell himself paid a flying 
visit to Shropshire, and while "viewing ye town of 
Bridgnorth," had a very narrow escape of his life ; for 
on Friday, the nth, as he sat on horseback talking with 
a cornet of his regiment, the latter was struck by a brace 
of musket balls and mortally wounded. 1 Even under this 
General's direction the investment was not pressed home, 
for the besieging troops were withdrawn when the news 
arrived that the King was marching towards North Wales 
with a considerable army in order to relieve Chester. He 
reached Ludlow on August 7th, where he tried, but in 
vain, to raise fresh forces : the country had grown weary 
of war. The next day he proceeded to Bridgnorth, which 
town he left on the loth for Lichfield. 

Directly he had gone the Parliamentary Committee 
ordered an attack on Lilleshall, which was taken after a 
short siege by soldiers under Major Braine. Then the 
garrison of Dawley Castle in despair evacuated and dis- 
mantled their charge, and retired to High Ercall. 

To illustrate the recent successes of the Parliament, we 
will quote from the Perfect Occurrences of Friday, August 
2Oth, to Friday, August 27th, 1645 : 

A lyst of the Garrisons taken by the Shropshire Committee since they 
first took the field : Oswestry Castle, Shrawardine Castle, Rowton Castle, 
Caus Castle, Lee House, Stoaksay, Broncroft, Benthall, Buildwas, 
Maydley, Tong Castle, Lalpey [i.e., Lapley, co. Stafford], Dawley, Lilies- 
hall, Morton Corbet, Albright Hussey, Atcham Bridge, Longner House, 
Rocksalter [i.e., Wroxeter], Shrewsbury. Twenty Garrisons they have 

1 This is the only authentic visit the great Protector paid to Shropshire 
during the First Civil War, though local tradition connects him with 
innumerable places in the county, especially in reference to the injury 
or destruction of churches, castles, and manor houses. 


taken first and last from the King with those two of Lilleshall and Dawley 
which they took last week. So now the King hath no more garrisons 
than Ludlow, Bridgnorth and High Ercall. 

His Majesty was soon again in Shropshire, for, 
retreating South after his total defeat at Rowton Heath, 
near Chester, on September 24th, he reached Bridgnorth 
on the 30th, but only stayed two days, and then moved 
on to Lichfield. A fortnight later he made up his mind 
to surrender to the Scots. 

After this the Royal cause was hopeless. Though 
Lord Asteley and Sir William Vaughan tried hard to 
collect a fresh army, they found it impossible, and over- 
taken by Sir William Brereton at Stow-in-the-Wold, 
Gloucestershire, they suffered a disastrous defeat, and 
the last force which remained to the King was scattered. 

The three Royal garrisons in Shropshire held out a 
little longer, but High Ercall, battered for nine hours 
without intermission by great shot and grenadoes, sur- 
rendered on fair terms on March 27th, 1646. 

Then no time was lost in storming Bridgnorth. The 
day after High Ercall fell, a strong brigade was despatched 
thither from Shrewsbury. Failing in an attempted 
surprise, the town was assaulted in three divisions. Each 
met with a determined resistance, but Colonel Francis 
Billingsley, of the Trained Bands, being killed in 
St. Leonard's Churchyard, the Royalists were at length 
forced back into the castle. This they managed to hold 
for three weeks, despite a continued bombardment, for 
the enemy's cannon, though playing furiously against its 
walls, could make no breach or considerable impression. 
To return the fire the garrison planted great guns upon 
the tower of St. Mary Magdalene's Church (which, being 
high, commanded all the enemy's works), and by this 
battery inflicted great loss, on one occasion the artillery- 
men in the tower sending a lucky shot right into the mouth 
of one of the opposing cannon, which not only burst 
the piece, but killed its gunner and six or seven of his 


men by the explosion. Understanding, however, that the 
castle magazine was in the chancel of this church, the 
besiegers began to run a sap through the rock, and carried 
it within a few paces of the ammunition. 1 In danger, 
therefore, of being blown up, Sir Robert Howard, the 
Governor, agreed to honourable conditions on April 24th, 
1646. Among the commanders in the garrison were Sir 
Vincent Corbet, Sir Edward Acton, and Sir Francis 
Ottley, who were allowed to keep their arms, baggage, 
and horses. All the other officers and men received 
similar liberal terms, with the exception of Mr. Edward 
Latham, Colonel Billingsley's father-in-law, who "must 
deliver himself up to the mercy of the Parliament." 

Ludlow, the last of the King's garrisons in Shropshire, 
kept its colours flying for another month, though closely 
invested by Colonel Birch from Hereford, and Colonel 
Mackworth from Shrewsbury, who, despairing of capture 
by assault, made tempting offers and bribes to certain 
members of the garrison to induce their comrades to 
surrender. And this was effected on June ist, 1646. 

With the fall of Ludlow, the first Civil War was at 
an end as far as this county was concerned, and all that 
remained was to count up the losses it had occasioned. 

It is impossible to say how many Salopians laid down 
their lives in the struggle. Gough says that of the twenty 
from Middle who enlisted in the Royal army thirteen were 
killed ; probably a higher proportion than in other 
villages, yet each of them, no doubt, furnished its quota 
to the grim list of slain. 

Of castles and manor houses numbers were in ruins, 
Shrawardine, Caus, Rowton, and Bridgnorth utterly des- 
troyed. Of churches, Clun, Bishops Castle, Benthall, 
Stokesay, Shrawardine, and St. Leonard's, Bridgnorth, had 
been practically demolished ; High Ercall, Loppington, 
Oswestry, Wellington, the Abbey, Shrewsbury, and many 
others greatly damaged. 

l This mine is still to be seen, and is now called Levingston's Hole. 


Various estates changed hands. Sir Vincent Corbet 
was so impoverished by the fines imposed by Parliament 
that he was compelled to sell his property at Moreton 
Corbet and Preston Brockhurst ; his cousin, also Vincent 
Corbet, to surrender Humphreston (in the early days of 
the war garrisoned for the King) to Edmund Waring, the 
Anabaptist High Sheriff and Governor of Shrewsbury; 
John Heylin to part with Alderton, purchased by the 
strong Parliamentarian, John Wingfield, and so on through 
the county. 46,631 145. 8d. is given as the total at which 
the estates of Shropshire Royalists were compounded for, 
with annual payments of 990 in addition. 

In the second Civil War of 1648, in the campaign of 
1651 (which culminated in Cromwell's "crowning mercy 
at Worcester " and the flight of Charles II. to Boscobel), in 
the rising of 1655, and in that of 1659, Shropshire men 
took their full share in the vain attempts to give the King 
his own again. And nowhere was the Restoration more 
welcome than in this county, when, as the Rector of 
Shrawardine entered in his Church Register : 

1660. 29 May, His Gracious Majesty, our dread Sovereign King Charles 
the Second, came to London attended with the greatest part of the 
Nobilitie and Gentrye of the land, where with all demonstrations of joy 
he was welcomed and received. Never was more cordial love and honour 
showed to any King than was to this exiled prince at his reception into the 
kingdom in all places. 




lEMPORA mutantur nos et mutamur in illis." 
Four hundred years ago, towards the close of 
the Feudal period, when Leland wrote his 
Itinerary, red deer and roe were running 
wild over the Forest of Clun. On the slopes of the 
Stiperstones range, before modern miners had recom- 
menced the work of their Roman predecessors, Hockstow 
deer-forest extended right up to Caus Castle. The 
antlers found in the meres round Baschurch and Ellesmere 
show the presence of red deer in North Shropshire also. 
What was the population of the county in the Feudal 
period we cannot accurately ascertain, but the inhabitants 
of the Border country were not scattered, as now, broadcast 
over the land, but were gathered together for protection in 
the walled towns or in villages which nestled under the 
battlements of castles. Few were the outlying residences, 
and these were usually surrounded by a moat. Contrasting 
with the wildness of the surrounding scenery (for there 

1 This chapter was originally read before the Royal Archaeological 
Institute of Great Britain and Ireland at their meeting in Shrewsbury 
in 1894, on which occasion its author was President of one of the sections. 
Mr. Stanley Leighton was pre-eminently qualified to speak on the subject 
it deals with, not only by his position in the county, but by the special 
attention he had for many years devoted to that branch of Salopian 
antiquities. The chapter is now in the main reprinted from the 
Transactions of the Shropshire Archaological Society, to which, after its 
delivery, he contributed it in a revised form ; but for the purpose of 
reprinting, it has been again edited and brought up to date by his 
daughter, Miss Rachel Leighton, who has herself devoted considerable 
attention to the subject. T.A. 



was then no model farming) some forty or fifty castles 
gave point to the landscape, some of them well built, and 
covering several acres in extent, but more imposing than 
the strongholds of the landowners in scale and stateliness 
were the abbeys of the religious orders, of which 
Shropshire had her faif proportion. Eyton gives the 
following list of Shropshire castles : 

Alberbury. Kinnerley. Shrawardine. 

Bishop's Castle. Knockin. Shrewsbury. 

Bridgnorth. Ludlow. Snead. 

Carrechova. Middle. Stretton. 

Caus. Oswestry. Wattlesborough. 

Cleobury Mortimer. Pulverbatch. Wem. 

Corfham. Quatford. Whitchurch. 

Ellesmere. Red Castle. Whittington. 

Holgate. Ruyton-XI. -Towns. 

Modern research has also revealed the existence of a 
stronghold at Hodnet. 

The castellated mansions mentioned by Eyton are : 

Acton Burnell. Dawley. Stokesay. 

Apley. Hopton. Tirley. 

Brace Meole. Longnor. Withyford. 

Charlton. Moreton Corbet. Wroxeter. 

The Religious houses, as given in Stevens' Continua- 
tion of Dugdale's Monasticon, were : 

Shrewsbury Abbey Benedictine. Buildwas Cistercian. 

Wenlock Priory Cluniac. Chirbury Augustinian. 

Halesowen Prasmonstratensian. Wombridge Augustinian. 

Haughmond Augustinian. firewood (Whiteladies) Cistercian. 
Lilleshall Augustinian. 

To which may be added Alberbury, suppressed by 
Henry VI. as an alien Priory of the Grandmontensian 
Order, and the Houses of the Knights of St. John at 
Halston and Lydley Heys. The Abbots of Shrewsbury, 
Lilleshall, and Haughmond were summoned to the House 
of Peers from time to time. 

The nett income of the religious houses at the 

THE SOLAR ROOM. Stokes ay Castle 


Dissolution varied from the 532 of Shrewsbury Abbey 
to the 17 of the Convent of Whiteladies. 

An honest study of what remains to us of the past 
helps us to observe the continuity of change, both in the 
outward appearance of the land and the personality of 
its inhabitants. The Abbeys and Priories of Shropshire 
just mentioned, the houses of the military orders, and a 
number of Friaries, are all gone. The forty castles of 
Shropshire are all gone as residences of importance. I 
can only recall three or four which have a vestige of 
roof left upon their walls. Stokesay is a beautiful but 
dismantled shell. Shrewsbury Castle, of which Leland 
said " it hath been a strong thinge, but is now much in 
ruin," suffered still further disfigurement in the beginning 
of the nineteenth century at the hands of Laura, 
Countess of Bath, and her architect Telford, the 
famous road engineer. Wattlesborough is used as 
a farmhouse, and its square Norman tower is covered 
with a modern roof. Apley Castle is used as a stable, 
and little but the foundation is left. Broncroft has 
been modernised. Of the four walled towns of 
Shropshire Shrewsbury, Bridgnorth, Ludlow and Oswes- 
try only a few vestiges of gate or wall can be traced. 
The original owners have passed away with their 
castles. Compare the feudal baronage of Shropshire with 
its modern peerage : Fitzalan, Audeley, Boteler, Burnel, 
Charlton de Powys, Corbet of Caus, Fitz-Herbert, Fitz- 
Warin, Lacy, Mortimer, Pantulf, Say, Stafford, Strange, 
Montgomery. All these once famous names are unfamiliar 
now. Of the Peerage of Shropshire in the reign of 
Henry VIII, the Dukedom of Buckingham became extinct 
in 1521, and the Barony of Stafford in 1637. The 
Fitzalan Earls of Arundel became extinct in the male 
line in 1580. The Barons Grey de Powis died out in 
1552; the Baronies of Talbot, Furnival, and Strange of 
Blackmere, fell into abeyance between three daughters 
and co-heirs in 1616, and only a small portion of the 


Shropshire estates remained attached afterwards to the 
Earldom of Shrewsbury. Of the Peerage of Shropshire 
in the reign of George L, the line of the Newports, Earls 
of Bradford, became extinct in 1/62, and that of the 
Herberts, Marquises of Powis, in 1 748 ; of the Pierpoints, 
Dukes of Kingston, in 1 773 ; and of the Talbots, Dukes 
of Shrewsbury, in 1718, when the Earldom reverted to a 

When Noel Hill, the eldest son of Thomas Harwood, 
was created Lord Berwick of Attingham in 1784, he was 
the only resident peer in the county. There were, indeed, 
two Irish peers Kilmorey and Clive, but, as far as I 
know, no resident English peer, unless Earl Gower of 
Lilleshall be counted. 

In the reign of Queen Victoria the peerage of 
Shropshire included: 

Noel Hill of Attingham Baron Berwick, created 1784. 

Clive. Irish Barony of Clive, created 1762; Baron 

Herbert, created 1 794 ; and Earl of Powis, created 


Bridgeman. Created Baron 1794, Earl of Bradford 

Hill of Hawkestone. Created Baron 1816, Viscount 


Forester. Created Baron 1821. 

Wilson, Baroness Berners. Barony called out of abey- 
ance 1832. 

Lawley. Baron Wenlock, created 1839. 
Windsor Clive. Barony called out of abeyance 1855 

(created Earl of Plymouth 1905). 
Hamilton Russell. Viscount Boyne, Baron Brancepeth 

created 1866. 

Acton. Baron created 1869. 
Gore. Baron Harlech created 1876. 
Hill-Trevor. Baron Trevor created 1880. 
Lowry-Corry. Baron Rowton, created 1880 (extinct 


The following Peers have land in Shropshire, but are 
not resident : 

The Earl of Shrewsbury. Duke of Sutherland. 

Earl of Tankerville. Marquis of Bath. 

Earl Brownlow. Lord Barnard. 

Duke of Norfolk. Lord Kenyon. 

Earl Craven. Lord Stafford. 
Earl of Dartmouth. 

From these lists it may be observed how short has 
been the family tenure of hereditary rank. 

But ruins and dismantled houses each have their own 
story to tell, which will generally repay the trouble of 
discovery. Stokesay points to the rise of commerce one 
of the powerful factors in England's greatness. Its 
builder was Laurence, a clothier of Ludlow, who erected 
this charming castellated mansion in 1290. "It was not," 
says Eyton, "till the reign of Edward I. that mercantile 
wealth could readily be exchanged for territorial impor- 
tance." After passing by heirship to the Vernons, 
Stokesay again fell into mercantile hands, and was 
purchased in the reign of Elizabeth or James I. by the 
aldermanic family of Craven, who sold it about 1870, 
again for money made in business, to the family of 
Allcroft, its present owners. In feudal, as well as in 
modern, times wealth often came through heiresses, and 
there are few families with large possessions which do 
not owe much to female inheritance a fact which, I 
suppose, inspired the old punning legal rhyme: 

Fee simple, simple fee, 
And all the fees in tail, 
Are nothing when compared with thee, 
Thou best of Fees, Fe(e)male. 

Whether the duties and the dangers of feudal 
superiority brought its possessors more quickly to 
extinction than the conditions of modern pre-eminence 
is a problem worthy of consideration. Special advantages, 


whether social, political, pecuniary, or literary, seem 
perilous to the envied owners. Eyton concludes a notice 
of the Fitzalans with these words : " Having now given 
some account of eight successive representatives of Alan 
FitzFlaad, this retrospective observation suggests itself, 
viz. : that not one of these eight Fitzalans attained the 
age of sixty years ; only two passed the age of fifty ; 
three died between forty and fifty ; one between thirty 
and forty; and two others died under thirty." The fate 
of the Staffords, who inherited Caus Castle from the 
Corbets, and, having inter-married with the Plantagenets, 
stepped into the highest grade of nobility, is equally in- 
structive. In the second generation Edmund, the fifth Earl, 
having succeeded a brother who was murdered, and two 
other brothers who died childless, was himself killed at 
the battle of Shrewsbury in 1403. His son, who was made 
Duke of Buckingham, was slain at Northampton in 1460. 
His son was slain at St. Albans. His son was beheaded 
at Salisbury in 1483, and his son was beheaded on Tower 
Hill in 1521. The Royal House of England for the last 
eight centuries has been represented by seven families, 
but never during all that time by a purely English dynasty 
in the male line. The Conqueror William was a Norman ; 
Stephen, a Frenchman ; Henry II., an Angevin or 
Plantagenet ; Henry VII., a Welshman or Tudor ; 
James I., a Scotchman or Stuart ; William III., a 
Dutchman of the House of Orange ; George I., a Guelph 
or Hanoverian ; and the present King represents the 
distinguished German house of Coburg. 

The feudal scheme of society, the outgrowth of 
surrounding circumstances rather than of settled policy, 
linked enormous duties with corresponding position. 
Recognised and customary obligations, which could not 
easily or safely be avoided, appertained to the ownership 
of land, almost the only form in which at that time wealth 
could be capitalised. There is danger to any state when 
the conditions of political service dissociate property from 


public responsibilities. In old England the Castle 
represented military duty; the Abbey represented 
religious, educational, and civil obligations ; the Towns, 
with their exclusive guilds and chartered privileges, were 
the guardians of municipal government and the protectors 
of trade. The custom of primogeniture, economical in 
its primary idea, is democratic in its direct consequences. 
While the eldest son of a baronial house was endowed 
with the land, almost to the exclusion of his brethren, 
he was at the same time laden with specific military 
and civil responsibilities. The cadets of the house, equally 
noble in blood, but according to our English custom 
simply commoners, were obliged by the necessities of 
their position to seek a livelihood in trades or professions. 
There was no caste, and as the ranks of the barons and 
knights were ever and anon recruited from the professional 
and mercantile classes, so the trades and professions were 
as often recruited from the younger sons of the nobility. 
In the great Council of the nation the bishops and abbots 
were life peers, as numerous and influential as the heredi- 
tary nobility, and they were summoned by a similar 
writ. Whether a summons was regarded as a burden or 
a privilege is not quite clear, nor is it certain by what 
means an ecclesiastical or lay peer could assert his right 
if he failed to receive his summons. Certain it is that 
the abbots of many religious houses, as well as the owners 
of land by baronial tenure, were sometimes summoned 
and sometimes passed over. The lesser landowners were 
represented by knights of the shire in the House of 
Commons, and the citizens of the town by burgesses. 
Shropshire returned two knights of the shire, and Shrews- 
bury and Bridgnorth two burgesses each from 1295. In 
1472 Ludlow was made a Parliamentary Borough, 
Wenlock in 1478, Bishop's Castle in 1585, so that the 
county returned in all twelve members to Parliament, 
instead of its present quota of five. What a shrinkage of 
relative importance in the council of the nation! 


It will be remembered that the delimitation of the 
boundary between England and Wales was not finally 
completed till the twenty-eighth year of Henry VIII. A 
statute passed in 1537 introduced the shire system into 
what are now the counties of Brecknock, Radnor, 
Montgomery, Denbigh, and Flint. The parishes of 
Ellesmere, Oswestry, Chirbury, Clun, and others, were 
definitely appropriated to Shropshire. I give here some 
extracts from Leland's Itinerary: 

Limites of Shropshire 

Blakemere a very large parke nye to White-Chirche, ys (as I have 
harde say) yn sum parte a limes betwixte Shropshire and Chestershire. In 
the Parke is a fair Maner Place. 

Monkbridge, a Mile beneth Tembyri is (as I her herd say) a limes to 
Wicestershire, Shropshire, and Herefordshire. 

Under " Montgomeryshire," Leland writes : 

Chine Castell longynge to the Erie of Arundel, somewhat ruinous. 
It hath been both stronge and well builded. Clune was a lordship 
marched by itself afore the new Acte. By Clune is a great Forest of 
redde Dere and Roois longinge to the Lord of Arundell, and standinge 
in the Lordshipc of Temecetre, thrwghe the whiche Teme Ryver cum- 
methe longinge also to the Lord of Arundle. All Chirbyri Hundred by the 
new Acte is adjecte to Shrobbshire. It apperithe in the Acte what 
Lordshippes be adjoyned to the V new Shires. 

I may note here that the Castle of Clun has been 
purchased by the present Duke of Norfolk, and thus a 
descendant of the famous Shropshire family of Fitzalan, 
and the holder of the feudal barony of Clun and 
Oswaldstree, is again a Shropshire landowner. 

Leland gives a list of twenty-nine Shropshire land- 
owners in his day, and in twenty cases he adds an 
estimate of their incomes : 

Sir John Talbot, of Albrighton Park. 

Corbet of Moreton Corbet, 800 merk of land =^520. 

Corbet of Lee, too merk =,66. 

Corbet of Longnor, 40. 

Sir John Mainwaring, of Ightfield. 

John Dodd, of Cloverley, 100 merk = 66. 



Sir Robert Needham, 400 merk=^266. 

Grosvenor of Bellaport. 

Newport of Ercall, a lordship with Park, ^200. 

Leighton of Leighton. 

Leighton of Wattlesborough. 

Leighton of Plash. 

Leighton of Rodington. 

Mitton of Coton, near Shrewsbury, ^133. 

Trentham of Shrewsbury, 50. 

Thomes of Shrewsbury, $o. 

Onslow of Onslow, ^40. 

Oteley of Pitchford, ^100. 

Scriven of Frodesley, 100 merk of land = 66. 

Leigh of Langley, 100. 

Laken of Willey, 300 merks=j2oo. 

Gatacre of Gatacre, 100 merks=j66. 

Wolrich of Dudmaston, 100 merks=^66. 

Haughton of Beckbury, ^40. 

Yonge of Caynton, 100 merks=66. 

Vernon of Hodnet, 200 merks=^i32. 

Cotton of Cotton, ^50. 

Charlton of Apley. 

Charlton of Wombridge. 

Among the other names to be found in Leland's 
Itinerary are : 

One Brooke, a lawyer, of Church Stretton. 

Lord Powis (i.e., Grey de Powis). 

Francis, Earl of Shrewsbury. 

The Duke of Buckingham, of Caus Castle. 

Earl of Arundel. 

Earl of Derby (as owner of land through the Lords Strange 

of Knockin). 
Sandford of Sandford. 
Vernon of Stokesay. 
The Baron of Burford. 
Rowland Hill, merchant, of London. 
Mr. John Dudley. 
Mr. Cornwall. 
"Arthur Newton hath almost made away all his landes." 

Comparing Leland's list with the modern Domesday 
Book of 1873, I can find only six of the same names; 
while the comparison of incomes shows the enormous 
relative depreciation in the value of money. In 1873 


three Shropshire landowners are credited with over 
"30,000, two with over 20,000, eight with over 10,000, 
twenty-seven with over 5,000, 164 with more than 

I pass now to another standard by which we may 
measure the progress of change. Christopher Saxton's 
Elizabethan map of Shropshire marks twenty-four parks, 
not probably all deer parks, but fenced enclosures used 
for cattle as well as game, and in all cases indicating a 
residence of importance : 


High Ercall. 





















To which list Speed adds Dean (near Ludlow), Stokesay, 
Shifnal, Linley (near Bridgnorth), and Ightfield. 

There were in 1895, I think, ten deer parks in Shrop- 
shire, but only one, Oteley, near Ellesmere, which I think 
was disparked at one time, is identical with any in Saxton's 
list. Eight, however, of his parks are still represented 
by mansions. Between the reigns of Elizabeth and 
Victoria several new parks were made and have since 
been disparked. Emmanuel Bowen's map (1751) marks 
the following : 

Tong Castle. Duke of Kingston. 

Pepperhill. Earl of Shrewsbury. 

Shefnal. Earl of Stafford. 

High Arcol, and Eyton. Earl of Bradford. 

Oakley Park. Earl of Powis. 

Shenton Place. Lord Kilmorey. 

Halesowen. Lord Dudley. 

Haughton. Briggs, Bart. 

Aldenham. Acton, Bart. 

Hawkston. Hill, Bart 

Longnor. Corbet, Bart. 

Harnage Grange. Fowler ; Bart. 

Wattlesborough. Leighton, Bart. 


Halston. My (ton, Esq. 

Morton Corbet. Corbet, Esq. 

Borreatton. Hunt, Esq. 

Morvil. Weaver, Esq. 

Willey. Forester, Esq. 

Apley. Whitmore, Esq. 

Condover. Barnston, Esq. 

Porkington. Owen, Esq. 

Park Hall. Char Iton, Esq. 

Aston. Lloyd, Esq. 

West Coppice and Onslow. Powis, Esq. 

Chetwyn. Piggot, Esq. 

Linley. More, Esq. 

The map of Basil Wood of the White Abbey is also 
useful. It was made about the year 1715, and professes 
to mark the country houses in the county, and in the 
margin are the names and the arms of two hundred 
owners. This map is not exhaustive of the subject, and 
there are mistakes as well as omissions. Nevertheless, 
it is astonishing to notice how many of the two hundred 
names enumerated have disappeared and how many new 
names and houses have sprung up in the interval. For 
instance, neither Hawkestone nor Attingham appear in 
this map, and three-fourths of the families whose names 
and arms are recorded are no longer represented in the 
male descent. The list is as follows 1 : 

Acton, Bart. 



Corbet, Bart. 






Blount, Bart. 

Charleton, Bart. 










Astley, Bart. 

Bradford, Earl of 

Chetwood, Bart. 



Bridgeman, Bart. 



(now ChilJe) 

Briggs, Bart. 






Delves, Bart. 













1 Those whose names are printed in italics have disappeared in the male 
line, or have sold their estates. The test adopted is whether the name is now 
to be found in Burke's Landed Gentry. 















Forester, Kt. 



Powis, Earl of 

Fowler, Bart. 










(of Ightfield) 




























Newport, Lord 

















Wale (or Waley) 










Leighton, Bart. 














Wooldridge, Bart. 






Lloyd, Bart. 



Additional names: 



















Duke of 














Child, Kt. 



Williams, Bart. 




(now Williams- 






Pierpoint, Lord 


In Kelly's 

Directory of 


for 1905 will be 

found a list 

of the principal seats in 

Shropshire. It 

mentions 231, 

which the reader may compare with Basil 



The names of those who during the troubled period 
of the Civil War took part on one side or the other prove 
that the Rebellion was a struggle, not of dass against 
class, as was the French Revolution, but of the supporters 
of one theory of Government and Religion against the 
supporters of another. Amongst those who in Shropshire 
favoured the Parliamentary side are to be found: 

The Earl of Bridgewater, President of the Court of 
the Marches and a patron of Richard Baxter ; the Earl 
of Denbigh, General Mytton of Halston and his brother- 
in-law, Myddelton of Chirk Castle ; Corbet of Adderley, 
Corbet of Stanwardine, Cotton of Bellaport, Forester, 
Matthew Herbert of Oakley Park, Fowler, Harcourt 
Leighton of Plash, Mackworth of Betton, Norton, Clive 
of Styche, Lloyd of Aston, Powell of Park, Baker of 
Sweeney, Evans of Treflach, Hunt of Shrewsbury (after- 
wards of Boreatton), More of Linley, Jones of Kilhendre 
(a regicide), Charlton of Apley, Mitton of Shipton, 
Edwardes of Greet, Pierpoint of Tong, Young of 
Caynton, Kinnersley of Badger, Leighton Owen of 
Bragginton, Betton, Botterell, Waring, Wingneld, Ludlow 
of the Moorhouse. 

Among the waverers were Lord Herbert of Chirbury 
and the Owens of Condover. 

I have pointed out how entirely the castles have 
disappeared as residences. It is difficult to put one's 
hand on an inhabited house of the fourteenth century, and 
not easy to find one of the fifteenth. One of the most 
ancient residences in Shropshire still used I believe to be 
the Prior's House at Wenlock, and it is certainly one of 
the most interesting. I will mention in passing a few 
other old houses : Plash, near Cardington, can show some 
remains of Tudor-Gothic, intermixed with Elizabethan 
work, and it has not been much touched during the last 
two centuries and a half until it was lately carefully 
restored. Condover is the largest and best example 
of the later Elizabethan style in the county. The 


Whitehall, however, in Shrewsbury, is perhaps, as a 
whole, more characteristic, because its surroundings, 
its gate-house, its dovecot, its walled gardens, and its 
stables, are still pretty much as they were. There 
is a good example of an early seventeenth century 
dovecot and barn at Hodnet. Whitton Court, near 
Ludlow ; Lydston, in Claverley ; Madeley Court, 
Lutwyche, Belswardine, Shipton, Upton Cressett, and 
Plowden are among the sixteenth and seventeenth century 
houses which are still maintained as residences ; but 
generally we must seek for old examples of domestic 
architecture in farm-houses, and in many of these the 
original character is well preserved. Black and white 
timbered houses are to be found all over Shropshire, 
especially in the towns, and above all other towns in 
Shrewsbury. Pitchford ranks as the best specimen of a 
country house in this style as a whole, but the frontage 
of Park Hall, near Oswestry, will bear comparison with 
any facade of this class in England. Marsh, or March, 
in the parish of Westbury, is a small black-and-white 
house, and has been recently excellently restored ; and 
the same may be said of the Black Birches. Melverley 
Church, Halston Chapel, and Park Hall Chapel are 
examples of the use of this style in ecclesiastical buildings. 
The stately but ruinous shell of Moreton Corbet is a fine 
Jacobean design of first-rate order. The house was burnt 
down before it was inhabited, and has never been rebuilt. 

I draw near to my conclusion, and return to the point 
from whence I began that acquaintance with the local 
evidences of history makes us admit that there are fewer 
old things of man's contrivance in the world than some 
people think. Go into any house, and how little can you 
lay your hands upon which has been in that house for a 
hundred years! You may see in any well-appointed 
mansion books and furniture, and swords and armour, and 
lace and jewellery, and silver and pewter, linen and tapes- 
try, and pictures, but how little, even though it be old, has 



been in the place for long ; how little has been seen and 
handled by those who lived there centuries ago! There 
were few books, few pictures, few ornaments, in a country 
house even in the eighteenth century. The old inventories 
testify to the simplicity, not to say ruggedness, of the 
lives of our ancestors. So when people bring treasures 
of art, and especially when they bring portraits, to an 
old house they should not be ashamed of labelling them, 
in order that old things which have been purchased may 
not be mistaken for old things which were brought into 
the house when they were new and have grown old in the 
same place. A mansion may be built in a year a home 
cannot be made in a year or in a generation. When a man 
rebuilds his house by way of making a good job of it, 
instead of carefully repairing the existing habitation, he 
destroys a homeliness which he will never see again. More 
harm has been done by too lavish reconstructions than by 

Shropshire has largely benefited in every generation 
from new comers, who have added to its material prosperity 
and pleasant associations. 

The fair new homes of England, 

Homes of the strong and free, 
Of a race that still for ever will 

The new world's masters be. 

I think, moreover, that in this country the ancient and the 
modern fairly combine together, and every day grow into 
closer harmony. Certainly, people are not now so set 
upon pulling down in order that they may rebuild as they 
were in other days. There is greater reverence for the 
past and a better reading of its story. 

The old-world homes of England, 

What tales their walls can tell 
Of hopes and fears in bygone years 

To those that read them well. 



Vicar of Tong ; Editor of Shrewsbury School Register, 1734-1906 

lARKNESS hides the centres of learning in 
Shropshire during the early history of the 
county. No doubt, under the Romans 
Uriconium would have its school, since it was 
part of their policy that the conquered should learn the 
language of the conquerors. And Julius Agricola (whose 
task, directly he became Governor of Britain in A.D. 78, 
was to crush the rebellion of the Ordovices, a Shropshire 
tribe) 1 strenuously persuaded the leading British nobles 
to allow their sons to learn the Latin language and study 
its literature. 2 The result of this principle was that 
eventually (in the words of Gildas), " Britain might have 
been more properly called a Roman than a British 
island." Christianity, too, must have been spreading in 
the county during the Roman occupation, for tradition 
says that when, some fifteen years after the Saxon inva- 
sion of 584 and the burning of the "White Town in the 
Forest," Augustine of Canterbury made a tour up the 
Severn Valley to Cressage, he found the district already 
Christian. Probably, therefore, many a missionary had 
been in his humble way doing what Bede did on a larger 
scale at Jarrow gathering together a small band of 

1 Tacitus, Agricola, xviii. 

2 Jam vero principum filios liberalibus artibus erudire, ut qui modo 
linguam Romanam abnuebant, eloquentiam eoncupiscerent. Tacitus, 
Agricola, xxi. 



scholars. Though the power of King Alfred would hardly 
reach this border county, still the influence of his law 
compelling all freeholders who possessed two hides of 
land or upwards to send their sons to school would 
doubtless be felt, and the force, too, of his example when 
he repaired the ruined monasteries and built new ones, 
instituting in each a school where all the knowledge of 
his day might be taught to laity as well as clergy. This 
at least may be inferred from the fact that in Saxon times 
four collegiate churches were founded in Shrewsbury, to 
each of which was attached a body of clergy whose duty 
was to go out to the surrounding villages to diffuse know- 
ledge and promote learning, as well as attend the sick 
and infirm. 

The first real information, however, which we possess 
is found in the Chronicle of Ordericus. In it he writes : 

I was baptized on the Sunday of Easter, 1075, at Atcham. When five 
years old I was sent to school at Shrewsbury. While there Siward, a 
priest of great eminence, instructed me in letters for five years from 
Nicostrates Carmenta, and taught me Psalms and Hymns and other 
necessary learning. 

His teacher, Siward, was probably the Saxon who 
ministered in a small wooden church on the site of which 
Roger Montgomery in 1083 erected his great Abbey of 
St Peter and St. Paul, and at the new foundation 
Ordericus continued his education. It was an integral 
part of a priest's work to instruct the youth of his 
generation. In fact, education was left entirely in the 
hands of the Church, as may be learned from the Canon 
of 1179, which gave the teachers of cathedral schools 
authority to superintend all the schoolmasters of the 
diocese, a Canon which was repeated in 1215. 

About this time there were several schools in Shrews- 
bury attached to the abbey and other religious houses 
(for in 1232 we read of the post of "rector of the schools 
of Salop" as evidently one of importance and honour), 
and this was, no doubt, the case also in other towns in 


the county, for the present Grammar Schools of Bridgnorth 
and Ludlow were originally connected with ecclesiastical 
foundations, the chantry of St. Leonard's and the Palmers' 
Guild, the former thus dating from the twelfth century, 
the latter from the thirteenth. In 1410 a Collegiate 
Church was built at Tong, its statutes providing for a 
chaplain to teach the children of that and the neighbouring 
villages reading, singing, and their grammar; and at 
the same date a similar institution was erected at Battle- 
field, with a school kept at the college. 

In fact, Oswestry, founded in 1404, seems to have 
been the only public school in Shropshire before the 
Reformation unconnected with a religious house. There 
were, however, private schools in some of the larger towns, 
since, according to the Shrewsbury Corporation books, 
the bailiffs of 1448 deposed a certain clerk named Thomas 
Fillilode from any longer teaching boys or keeping school 
within the town. 

Upon the abolition of monastic schools, as Sir William 
Dugdale remarks, there ensued a great decay of learning, 
for the Crown was very slow in recognising the duty of 
carrying on the good work which it had compelled the 
abbeys and collegiate churches to lay down, and private 
gainers by the dissolution refused to recognise it at all. 
For example, in 1548 the Commissioners reported that 
the priest of the Service of our Lady of Madeley " hath 
always kepte a gramer schoole there," but no steps were 
taken by them to continue this work ; and the same may 
be said of Tong and Battlefield, mentioned above. 1 

1 The records appended show that close on 200 Grammar Schools 
existed in England before the reign of Edward VI., which were, for 
the most part, abolished or crippled under him. It will appear, however, 
that the records are defective . . . Enough, however, can be gathered 
from other sources of information to permit the assertion to be confidently 
made that 300 is a moderate estimate of the number when the floods of 
the great revolution, which is called the Reformation, were let loose. 
Most of them were swept away either under Henry or his son ; or, if 
not swept away, plundered or damaged. F. A. Leach, English Schools at 
the Reformation, 1546-8 (pp. 5, 6). 

TONG CHURCH * *>"* f r*r*M in foreground 


Edward VI., 1 indeed, saved the schools of Shrewsbury 
from perishing by handing back a share of the spoils of 
the Collegiate Churches of St. Chad and St. Mary ; Bridg- 
north's endowment was augmented in 1548 by part of 
the plundered chantries of the town; and Wellington 
received a royal grant two years later. But private 
spoilers of monasteries did nothing, and other places had 
for years to await the generosity of benefactors. It is, 
too, worth noticing in how many instances Shropshire 
Grammar Schools were founded by men who had gone 
from the county, and had made fortunes in London in 
the seventeenth century. 

Here a word might be inserted on the term Free 
Grammar School, which is so often misunderstood. As 
the late Dr. Kennedy pointed out, it does not mean a 
school in which the education is gratuitous, but one which 
is free from the old ecclesiastical jurisdiction. As has 
been already said, before the Reformation almost every 
school was attached and subservient to some religious 
foundation. When Edward VI. and his Council desired 
to re-found schools, they also wished to place them under 
conditions less dependent on ecclesiastical power, and 
therefore chartered them as liberee, free from that juris- 
diction to which schools had in former years been subject, 
and possessing the privilege of governing themselves. 
In the words of an eminent legal authority, " Liber homo 
may just as well be translated, ' A man whose services you 
may command for nothing,' as libera schola, 'A school to 
which you may send boys without payment.' " 

Taking the various Free Grammar Schools of Shrop- 
shire in the order of seniority of foundation, we may 

1 The expression " Edward VI." is, it must be understood, only a short 
form for the predominant protector of the moment. The poor, rickety, 
orer-educated boy, who was only sixteen when he died, was not responsible 
for either the good or the evil that was done in his time. " Edward VI." 
means first the protector Somerset, then Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, 
and under them Paget, Sir Walter Mildmay, Lord Chancellors Audley 
and Rich, and others. F. A. Leach, p. 5. 


enumerate them thus : Ludlow, Bridgnorth, Oswestry, 
Wellington, Whitchurch, Shrewsbury, Market Drayton, 
Shifnal, Worfield, Donington, Wem, Newport, Halesowen, 
High Ercal, Whittington. But, unfortunately, many of 
them were endowed with a fixed yearly sum, which, though 
quite adequate at the time, has since become, by the 
altered value of money, far too small to carry out the 
intention of the founder ; and so the institutions have 
sunk to the perhaps no less useful role of elementary 
schools. This has been the case with Wellington, Shifnal, 
Donington, High Ercal, and Whittington. 

Before touching, however, on these various schools in 
detail, something should be said about the great educa- 
tional charity the Careswell which has assisted so many 
Shropshire boys to a University career, otherwise 
impossible to them. 

By a will, dated February 3rd, 1689, Edward Careswell, 
gentleman, of Blakelands, in the parish of Bobbington, 
who belonged to a Shifnal family, left his estates at 
Stottesden, Bobbington, Quatford, and other places for the 
maintenance of eighteen exhibitions at Christ Church, 
Oxford, open to all natives of Shropshire who had been 
for two and a half years educated at the Free Schools of 
Bridgnorth, Shrewsbury, Wem, Newport, Donington, or 
Shifnal. They were to be allocated in the following 
proportions: Shrewsbury 4, Newport 4, Bridgnorth 3, 
Shifnal 3, Wem 2, Donington 2. Lately, the founder's 
intentions have been modified, and now the exhibitions 
may be held at other universities than Oxford. 

LUDLOW Grammar School is the oldest existing school 
in Shropshire, for it was founded by the Palmers' Guild, 
and this was in being before the reign of King John, and 
was incorporated in 1284 by Edward I. It is mentioned 
in records dating back to the fourteenth century, and up 
to the Dissolution of Religious Houses was held in a 
building near the church. But in the reign of Henry VIII. 
a migration was made to what was called the " Great 


House," in Mill Street. When the Guild was dissolved, 
its revenues were confiscated, to be restored, however, in 
1552 by Edward VI., who practically re-founded the 
school, for in his charter the King directed the bailiffs, 
burgesses, and commonalty of Ludlow " always to find in 
the same town at their own costs and charges a Free 
Grammar School, with a schoolmaster and an ussher for 
the erudition of youth in the Latin Tongue." 

Charles Langford, Dean of Hereford, in 1607 
bequeathed the annual sum of 53 45. for the education 
of four boys, who must wear black gowns, and whose 
election was placed in the hands of the bailiffs ; while 
some time afterwards Richard Graves founded two 
exhibitions of 30 each at Balliol College, Oxford, for 
" young scholars elected and chosen from the Free School 
of Ludlow." 

Of boys from this school who have made their mark, 
we may mention William Owen, the Royal Academician, 
born in 1769; John Williams, Rector of Edinburgh 
Academy, and Archdeacon of Cardigan, the friend of 
Sir Walter Scott (who called him " the best schoolmaster 
in Europe"), and the tutor of Frederick Robertson of 
Brighton; and George Ballard Matthews, scholar, and 
afterwards Fellow, of St. John's College, Cambridge, 
Senior Wrangler of 1883, who was educated at Ludlow 
Grammar School from the age of eleven till he entered 
the University, and who, report said, was as many marks 
above the second of his year as the second was above 
the thirtieth 

At BRIDGNORTH a school had been supported from 
the revenues of the chantry of St. Leonard for a long 
period prior to 1503. But on March i8th of that year 
an order was made at the Great Court by the twenty-four 
burgesses " that there schall no priste kepe no schole save 
oonly oon child to helpe hym to sey masse after that a 
schole mastur comyth to town, but that every child to 
resorte to the corny n schole in payne of forfetyng to the 


chaumber of the towne 2OS. of every priste that doth the 
contrary." This "comyn schole's" endowment was 
augmented out of the wreck of Church property by 
Edward VI., for on the dissolution of the several chantries 
the Commissioners, in 1547, recommended a grant by the 
Crown of 8 per annum "from the revenues of the late 
dissolved Chantry of St. Leonard." This estate was 
subsequently sold, and now the payment is made at the 
Crown Audit. The bailiffs and Corporation were the 
governors, since, on July 20th, 1629, they dismissed both 
head-master and usher. In the early part of the seven- 
teenth century Sir William Whitmore, Knight, of Apley, 
built a schoolhouse on the south-east side of St. Leonard's 
Churchyard, and a dwelling for the use of the head-master, 
letting the latter at the nominal rent of eight shillings 
per annum, which is still (or was quite recently) charged. 

Of famous alumni, Sir Rowland Hay ward, Knight, 
Citizen and Alderman of London, was Lord Mayor in 
1 560 and 1 590, and was a benefactor to his old school ; 
Thomas Percy, successively chaplain to George II., Dean 
of Carlisle, and Bishop of Dromore, was the author of 
The. Hermit of Warkworth, and the compiler of Reliques 
of Ancient Poetry; William MacMichael, M.D., was 
Physician to William IV., and also his Librarian ; and 
Ralph Robert Wheeler Lingen while at Trinity College, 
Oxford, gained the Ireland, the Hertford, and the Eldon 
Scholarships, the Latin Essay Prize, and a First Class, 
was elected a Fellow of Balliol, was made a K.C.B. in 1879, 
and raised to the Peerage as Baron Lingen in 1885 for 
his work as Permanent Secretary to the Treasury from 
1870 to that year, and died on July 22nd, 1905, aged 
eighty-six years. 

We cannot leave Bridgnorth without speaking of an 
act of self-sacrificing heroism on the part of one of 
its boys some forty years ago. When the roof of 
St Leonard's Church was under repair two boys from 
the school made their way in during the workmen's dinner 



hour. They climbed on to the scaffolding, and while 
moving about a plank on which they were standing gave 
way. In falling, the younger of the boys managed to 
lay hold of a beam, and the elder saved himself by seizing 
him by the legs. There they hung, hoping each moment 
the workmen would return and rescue them from their 
perilous position. After a while the elder perceived that 
the younger's fingers were relaxing their grasp of the 


[Old Water-colour. 

beam, and at once asked if he thought he could hold on 
for ten minutes longer if freed from the weight on his legs. 
After a moment's hesitation he faintly whispered that he 
thought he could. Then the elder, with a message to his 
mother and a good-bye to his comrade, loosed his hold 
and fell to the floor of the church. Shortly afterwards the 
workmen came and rescued the younger from his perilous 
position, but the elder had been instantly killed by the 

OSWESTRY, the earliest Fret Grammar School in 


Shropshire, was, according to Leland, founded in 1404 
" by one Davy Holbeche, a lawyer, steward of the towne 
and lordship, who gave 10 land to it," and a house on 
the south-west side of the church. (David Holbeche was 
possibly M.P. for the county of Salop, and afterwards for 
Shrewsbury.) Among the statutes for the government of 
the school, drawn up in 1577 by the vicar and the bailiffs 
of Oswestry, during the mastership of William Marbury, 
M.A., occur the following regulations, which seem worth 
quoting, as showing bygone customs and manners : 

6tk Hem. Whereas a certain Duty due to former Schoole Mrs. in the said 
Schoole commonly called Cockefight money was but a peny of ev'ry Schoolar, 
he the said new Schoole Mr. is henceforth to have and.receive of ev'ry one of 
his Schoolars 2d. yearly for the Cockefight money. 

8M item. The Schoole Mr. shall at all the School Dayes of the year, 
winter and summer, resort to his said Charge and Schoole at 6, or between 6 
and 7 of ye clock in the morning, and shall continue there till 5 of ye clock in 
the evening, the time of Meals excepted. 

Till 1869 there were no scholarships from Oswestry to 
the University ; then, however, money was raised to found 
one open to any boy at the school. The earliest holder 
of this was Alexander Fletcher Jones, mathematical 
scholar of B.N.C., Oxford, who subsequently gained two 
first classes in Mathematics and a first in Natural Science. 
He was afterwards a master at Clifton College, and when 
returning home from a review with the School Cadet Corps 
was fatally injured by the accidental explosion of a rifle. 

During the long head-mastership of Dr. Donne, lasting 
from 1796 to 1833, there were at times upwards of three 
hundred boys on the books at once, and his pupils included 
two future deans, four canons, a G.C.B., an F.R.S., four 
generals, five M.P.'s, and three County Court Judges. 
Among earlier Oswestrians were Humphrey Humphreys, 
Bishop of Bangor 1689-1701, and of Hereford 1701-12; 
and Thomas Bray, Bishop of London's Commissary for 
Maryland, Vicar of St. Botolph's, Aldgate, and founder of 
the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge and of 


the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign 
Parts. Among the later alumni were Colonel Burnaby, 
of Khiva fame, and Colonel Turner Jones, R.E., who 
served in the Afghan War under Lord Roberts, and was 
mentioned in General Orders and recommended for the 
V.C. for his gallantry on August I2th, 1880. 

Oswestry was one of the many schools affected by the 
Civil War. Edward Payne, who had been appointed 
head-master in 1640, took the King's side, and the 
following letter from Oliver, Lord Protector, dated 
"Whitehall, July I3th, 165;," tells his fate : 

Wee being informed that the Free Schoole of our Towne of Oswestrie 
is now voyd of a head Schoolmaster settled there by reason of the 
Delinquency and Ejection of Edward Paine, late Schoole Master thereof, 
have thought fitt to recommend Mr. John Evans, the sonne of Matthew 
Evans, late of Penegroes in the county of Mountgomery, as a fit person 
both for piety and learning ..." 

Evans did not long enjoy his new position, for on the 
Restoration in 1660 he was in his turn expelled and Payne 
re-appointed. The school, however, had not been allowed 
to die out in the interval between the Loyalist's ejection 
and the Protector's appointment, for " John Wilcockes, 
Schoolmaster of Oswestry," was elected one of the Presby- 
terian Elders for Shropshire in 164.7. l 

In 1548 the Commissioners for the Regulation, Con- 
tinuance, and Erection of Schools found that " the preste 
celebrating at the altar of Our Lady within the parish 
church of WELLINGTON kepte always a Grammer Schoole 
ther freelie," and directed that it should be continued, and 
that the master should have the annual salary of 4. 175. 6d., 
as had of old been used, and that this should be paid by 
the Receiver of the Court of Augmentation. Though 
this sum is still paid annually to the Elementary Schools, 
there has been no Grammar School at Wellington for 

1 For a fuller account of Oswestry School, see a paper by the late 
Mr. Askew Roberts in the Transactions of the Shropshire Archaological 
Society, October, 1881. 


centuries in fact, it does not appear that any regular 
foundation was ever established. 

Though we read of Bishop Norbury, of Lichneld, 
licensing John Gilbert in 1328, and William de Grophull 
in 1358, to keep a Grammar School at WHITCHURCH, the 
present school there is of later date, and owes its origin 
to the Rev. John Talbot, Rector of Whitchurch, and 
others, in 1550. They gave an endowment for a master 
and an usher, and a house for the former, of whom the 
right of choice was vested in feoffees chosen out of the 
principal inhabitants of the town. 

Robert Clive, of Styche, son of Ambrose Clive, Fellow 
of St. John's College, Cambridge, was at Whitchurch 
Grammar School for three years before he entered his 
father's old college in 1630. He afterwards sat as M.P. 
for Bridgnorth in the Long Parliament, was a member 
of the Committee of Safety of 1643, was one of the 
sequestrators for Shropshire, and a colonel in the Parlia- 
mentary Army. In this last position he was so active that 
it was rather profanely suggested that the people of 
Shrewsbury should add to their Litany the following 
clause : 

From Wem, and from Wyche, 
And from Clive of the Styche, 
Good Lord, deliver us. 

When the Abbey and the other religious institutions 
of SHREWSBURY were dissolved in 1538, a proposal was 
made, but never carried out, to erect this town into a 
bishop's see, with a school attached having a master and 
an usher, "to teach bothe grammer and logycke in the 
greke and latten tonge." When this scheme came to 
nought, the burgesses in 1548 sent to Lord Rich, the 
Lord Chancellor, a vain supplication for a free school, and 
(now joined by the principal inhabitants of Shropshire 
and the adjacent counties and mid-Wales) they two years 
later made another, and this time a successful, effort, for, 
as an old chronicle tells us : 


1551-2. This yeare by the labor of one Hughe Edwards of Salop, 
and late of London, mere', and Master Rychard Whyttacks ... an 
anwetie of xxli for and towards the mayntenance of a free schoole in the 
sayde town of Shrewsbury for ever was obtayned to the great preferment 
of the youthe of that towne and the quarters there adjoyninge in good 
lernicge and godly educason. 

The charter of Edward VI. bears the date February 
loth, 1551-2, and is a grant of part of the tithes of the 
late colleges of St Mary and St. Chad. The first master 
was a Sir Morys, who was apparently not a success, and 
the second a John Eyton, also a failure. But 1561 saw 
the appointment of Thomas Ashton, Fellow of St. John's 
College, Cambridge, and the school at once sprang into 
the first rank, for on December 28th, 1562, there were 
266 scholars on the books, half alieni, half o-p-pidani ; and 
in seven years 875 boys were admitted. 

On May 23rd, 1571, Queen Elizabeth, in answer to 
the prayer of Ashton, her personal friend, made a further 
grant of the tithes of the Priory of Chirbury, and more 
of the estate of St. Mary's. The ordinances by which the 
school was governed till 1798 (when they were repealed 
by Act of Parliament) were drawn up by Ashton in 1577, 
who, though he had resigned his head-mastership six 
years before, still continued the "godlie father" of the 
school till his death in 1578. The hours were : From Lady 
Day to All Saints' Day, 6 am. to n, and 12.45 P- m - to 
5.30 ; from All Saints' Day to Lady Day, 7 a.m. to 1 1, and 
12.45 to 4.30, if daylight served, no candles being 
permitted, for fear of " breeding disease, or peril otherwise." 
The games allowed were shooting with the long bow, 
chess, running, wrestling, and leaping, for limited stakes, 
no betting being allowed on any consideration. In 
Ashton's days dramatic performances were a prominent 
feature of school life at Shrewsbury, and he left a standing 
regulation that every Thursday before enjoying a holiday 
the highest form should "declaim and play one act of a 
comedy." Ashton was succeeded by Thomas Lawrence, 
another Fellow of St. John's, who was equally successful 


as a teacher, and whose average number of boys was 
not far short of 400, for in 1586 Camden calls his school 
"the best fitted in all England," and "the nursery of 
learning and a singular benefit to the whole Common- 

Instead of stage plays Lawrence had a liking for 
pageants, and the old Chronicle gives us an account of a 
great military display made in 1582 by the boys for the 
entertainment of Sir Henry Sydney, when the whole school 
seems to have been one large volunteer corps : 

The seconde days of Maye all the scollars of the Free Scoole beinge 
in number 360, with the masters before them marching bravely in battel 
order with theire generalls, captens, droomes, troompets and ensigns 
before them through the towne towards a lawge filld callyd the Geye, 
and there devydinge their bands into iiii parts, met the Lord President ; 

and when Sir Henry left again by river certain chosen 
boys made " lamentable oracons, sorrowinge his departure." 
After twelve years' work Lawrence resigned, and was 
followed by John Meighen, one of Ashton's pupils, who 
governed the school for forty-eight years with a success 
which would have been much greater had it not been 
for the town bailiffs, who were continually interfering in 
matters which did not concern them. The head-master, 
for instance, desired to promote Ralph Gittins, the third 
master, to be second ; they refused their consent. 
Meighen, however, did promote him, and Gittins moved 
into the second master's lodgings. This was too much for 
the bailiffs, who proceeded to attempt his removal by 
force. But Gittins was popular with his pupils, and, there- 
fore, with the ladies of Shrewsbury (their mothers and 
sisters), and, egged on, no doubt, by sons and brothers, 
who would enter hugely into the joke, "many women 
forcibly kept possession of the schoolhouse by the space 
of four days and three nights together, at which time one 
of the bailiffs endeavouring to go into the school up a pair 
of stairs had like to have been killed or spoiled by the 
casting of a piece of timber down the said stairs." In the 


end, however, Gittins was compelled to resign, though after 
a few years he was reinstated by Meighen, who took a 
subtle revenge on his adversaries. About this time the 
schoolhouse, which was of timber, was taken down and 
entirely rebuilt of freestone. The bailiffs wished to have 
their own names placed over the gateway rather than a 
Greek inscription. To this Meighen would by no means 
consent, but he pointed out to them a small building close 
at hand newly dedicated, not to the Muses, but to Cloacina, 
and suggested a stone over the door as admirably adapted 
for such a record. The bailiffs fell into the trap, and 
their names were to be read there by admiring schoolboys 
so late as 1798. 

Such dissensions naturally caused the school to fall 
somewhat in numbers, till Meighen's resignation, and the 
appointment of a pupil of his, Thomas Chaloner, in 1635. 
In his first nine months 128 new boys were admitted, but 
soon clouds of Civil War began to loom over the land, 
and in November, 1642, Chaloner wrote: "Academies 
mourn, the colonyes of Muses are desolate, and the number 
of Shrewsbury schoole is small." He was himself a stout 
Royalist, and when the King came to Shrewsbury in the 
September of that year, he and his friend and colleague, 
David Evans, placed their chambers at the disposal of 
the royal company, and lent the school library for meetings 
of the Commission of Artillery. Six hundred pounds was 
also borrowed by Charles from the school chest, and, of 
course, never repaid. For all these acts, it is not 
surprising that when the Parliamentarians gained posses- 
sion of Shrewsbury, they at once ejected Chaloner from 
his post and appointed another in his room, one Richard 
Pigott "Bonis omnibus exutus dTrea-tcopdteKrOov" ("Robbed 
of all my goods, I was cast out to the crows ") is Chaloner's 
own account. For nineteen years he was a wanderer, a 
very Ulysses of schoolmasters, till at last, when the King 
got his own again, he returned to his " ancient province." 

But we have not space to go through the history of 


the various head-masters, or trace how the school's fortunes 
rose with some and fell with others, till at the end of the 
eighteenth century it reached its lowest under James 
Atcherley, who in twenty-eight years reduced its numbers 
to twenty-two a fact which is not surprising if we believe 
the traditional tale that the favourite amusement of this 
head-master and his colleagues was to practise kicking at 
a flitch of bacon hung in the kitchen for the purpose, to 
see who could kick the highest. But many gentlemen of 
influence in Shrewsbury and the neighbourhood had 
become convinced that unless drastic measures were taken 
there would be no hope of Shrewsbury ever taking its 
old place among public schools. They therefore obtained 
an Act of Parliament in 1798, by which Ashton's 
ordinances, which had governed the school since 1577, 
were revoked. 

The new head-master was the great Dr. Samuel Butler, 
who held office for thirty-eight years, and entirely revived 
the fallen glories of Shrewsbury, raising its average 
numbers to nearly three hundred. When he resigned in 
1836 and became Bishop of Lichfield, one of his most 
distinguished pupils, Benjamin Hall Kennedy, was chosen 
to succeed. He held the reins till 1866, then the present 
head-master was appointed, under whose guidance the 
removal to Kingsland (in the opinion of the late Dr. 
Thring, of Uppingham, "the finest site for a school in 
England ") was successfully carried through. But whoever 
would study the history of this famous school at length 
should turn to the late Rev. G. W. Fisher's Annals of 
Shrewsbury School (Methuen & Co.). 

Of illustrious old Salopians we have room to mention 
very few. Among Ashton's pupils were Sir Philip Sydney, 
the hero of Zutphen ; his friend, Greville, Lord Brooke ; 
Andrew Downes, Professor of Greek at Cambridge, one 
of the translators of the Bible ; and John Penry, the 
Puritan, author of the Martin Mar-Prelate Tracts. Among 
those of Lawrence were Lord Chief Justice Crewe ; 


Edward Bromley, Baron of the Exchequer; Sir Clement 
Edwards, Muster Master-General and Secretary of State ; 
and Rowland Heylin, at whose cost the Bible was trans- 
lated into Welsh. Meighen taught Sampson Price, 
malleus htcreticorum ; Bishops Dee of Peterborough and 
Woolley of Clonfert; Sir Piers Griffith, commander of a 
ship against the Armada ; the Royalist officers, Sir William 
Vaughan, Sir Francis Ottley, and Sir Thomas Scriven ; 
and their opponents, Colonels Thomas Hunt, Samuel More, 
and Humphrey Mackworth. Chaloner did the same to 
Sir George Saville, Marquis of Halifax, the "Great 
Trimmer," as Macaulay styles him. Of Pigott's days were 
" Demosthenes " Taylor, the scholar ; William Williams, 
Speaker of the House of Commons (who, as Attorney- 
General, with his old school-fellow, Thomas Powys, as 
Solicitor-General, conducted the prosecution of the Seven 
Bishops) ; and Chief Justice Jeffreys. In later years came 
Richard Hill, the diplomatist ; Ambrose Phillips, the poet ; 
Thomas Johnes, translator of Froissart ; Sir Richard 
Perrott, A.D.C. to the Duke of Cumberland at Culloden ; 
Bishops Bowers of Chichester and Thomas of St. Asaph ; 
and Senior Wranglers Edward Waring and Thomas Jones. 
Of the alumni of the last one hundred years it is almost 
invidious to give names. Of those who entered Navy or 
Army, representatives were present at Trafalgar and 
Waterloo and other scenes of the Napoleonic struggle ; 
twenty-two or more served in the Crimea, of whom one 
commanded the first troops landed for that campaign, and 
two were killed in action ; in the Indian Mutiny twelve at 
least took part, two meeting their death at Lucknow; 
and of the 133 who fought in "the great Boer War," four- 
teen laid down their lives. In the Church, there have been 
one archbishop and eleven bishops ; three Salopians, too, 
assisted in the Revised Version of the New Testament. 
In Law, the Chief Justices of Ireland, Bombay, Queens- 
land, and Lagos, and many County Court Judges and 
King's and Queen's Counsels. In Science and Art, 


Charles Darwin and seven other Fellows of the Royal 
Society, and the Antiquaries Sir C. T. Newton and 
the Rev. C. H. Hartshorne ; while the Sabrince 
Corolla proves to the world the ability of Salopians 
in classical composition. In the Senate, some thirty- 
three have sat as M.P., several of whom have held 
high office in the Government. In Sport, seven or eight 
have acted as Masters of Foxhounds. In the " Battle of 
the Blues," twenty-seven have striven manfully on the 
Thames and seven on the cricket field, not to mention 
football and other contests. Finally, at the Universities 
Shrewsbury has had one Senior Wrangler and eighteen 
Senior Classics ; and has won almost numberless First 
Classes and University Prizes at Oxford and Cambridge 
(four of the latter being gained by boys while still in the 
Sixth Form). " It is not, however," as Dr. Kennedy once 
said, " in the more conspicuous walks of public life that 
you must seek instances of the success and usefulness of 
Shrewsbury men. You will find them at the Universities 
honourably and usefully engaged in tuition ; in country 
livings honourably and usefully fulfilling their sacred duties 
as clergymen ; at the head of Grammar Schools employed 
in training new generations to a like career of honour 
and usefulness. You will find them, I hope, wherever they 
are, acting always as honourable and useful members of 

MARKET DRAYTON Grammar School is one of the few 
schools dating from the reign of Philip and Mary. Letters 
Patent of November 6th, 1555, directed that the school 
should be called " The Free Grammar School of Sir 
Rowland Hyll, Knight, Citizen and Alderman of London." 
By these power was given to the founder to appoint master 
and usher as often as those places were vacant during his 
lifetime, and also to make statutes for its government. 
He named as governors the churchwardens of Drayton and 
their successors. But in the Civil War his statutes were 
not observed, for the school declining under a Mr. 


Cudworth (probably brother of Ralph Cudworth, the 
author of The Intellectual System), Sir John Corbet, of 
Adderley, M.P. for Shropshire, took the matter into his 
own hands, and at the beginning of February, 1646-7, 
appointed Thomas Chaloner, already mentioned as ejected 
two years before from a like position at Shrewsbury, to 
the head-mastership, at the same time procuring a 
dispensation from Parliament on his behalf. But before 
a month was over the Shropshire Committee interfered, 
deprived him of the post, and frustrated the general 
expectation that under his management " the faded glories 
of the school would be revived." 

The Orders and Statutes date from November 5th, 
1719 (when John Addenbrooke was chief schoolmaster 
and Joseph Bown usher). These declare that the school 
was to be kept in St. Mary's Hall, " free for all children 
placed there for their learning to read English and to 
understand the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew languages." 

The hours were to be : March 25th to September 2Qth, 
from between 6 and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a break for 
dinner from n to i; September 2Qth to March 25th, 
" from as soon as the scholars could read " to as long as 
they could, provided this was not after 5. Should any 
gentleman ask for a holiday for them, he must pay 2s. 6d. 
towards the fund for improving the school library. The 
school boys were not to play with the town boys who 
did not belong to the school, nor be allowed to converse 
with them, and all such town boys, not being scholars of 
the school, were to be expelled and driven out of the 
churchyard from the company and conversation of the 
scholars. No boy or boys were to bar out the master or 
usher before Christmas on pain of expulsion. 

One of the treasures of Market Drayton School is a 
fragment of an old desk fixed against one of the interior 
walls, which bears the initials " R. C." These letters are 
supposed to have been cut by the great Lord Clive when 
a Market Drayton grammar school boy. It was while here 


that he performed his well-known feat of climbing up to 
the roof of the church tower, and then lowering himself 
down on to a gargoyle, on which he sat astride, to the 
great consternation of the townspeople below. 

The origin of the Free Grammar School at SHIFNAL 
is uncertain, but it was in existence in 1595, when John 
Aron by will left 20 towards erecting a schoolhouse. 
Subsequently it received several other small benefactions. 
Though one of the schools chosen in 1689 to enjoy the 
Careswell Charity, all the endowments were in 1761 
diverted to the English or Elementary School, with the 
exception of a legacy from a Mr. Bennett of 4 los. 
The classical master, therefore, had perforce to keep a 
private boarding establishment under the name of the 
Grammar School ; and this was done fairly successfully 
at Idsall House from about 1780 by the Revs. Robert 
Dean, John Wood, J. Matthews, Samuel Clarke (1856-67), 
and W. F. Satchell (1867-73), after whose time the so- 
called Grammar School gradually declined, and finally 
disappeared. Of boys educated here we may mention 
the late John Hawley Edwards, Magistrates' Clerk at 
Shrewsbury, one of the finest players who ever stepped 
on a football field, who represented both England and 
Wales in International Matches, and was Captain of the 
once famous Shropshire Wanderers. 

WORFIELD Grammar School evidently existed prior to 
1613, for in that year James I, by his Letters Patent (in 
consideration of 5 45. paid by Thomas Beech and 
Thomas Bradburne), granted to William Lloyd and 
Thomas Parker and their heirs certain premises in 
Worfield, Bridgnorth, and Quatford, in trust, that the 
yearly proceeds should be employed for "the instruction 
of youth in reading and writing English and in the 
accidence and principles of grammar and of the Latin 
tongue." There appear to have been " savings " out of the 
income, and these purchased land at Brierley Hill for a 
small sum. which the discovery of minerals caused to be 


valuable and to realise 16,000, which forms the nucleus 
of all the endowments of the parish. With part of this 
sum a new school and master's house were built in 1878 
at Roughton. Latterly, however, the number of pupils 
has greatly decreased, though boys from Worfield have 
gained scholarships at Clifton, Rossall, Bloxham, etc. 
For some years at the close of the seventeenth century 
the head-master was Thomas Turner, Rector of Badger ; 
and it is a somewhat curious coincidence that at the close 
of the nineteenth century the head-master, the Rev. 
Thomas W. Turner, for four years had charge of the 
same parish. 

The Free Grammar School of WEM owes its beginning 
in 1650 to Sir Thomas Adams, woollen-draper, Alderman, 
and Lord Mayor of London. He was a son of Thomas 
Adams, of Wem, tanner, and after taking his degree at 
Jesus College, Cambridge, engaged in business in London, 
and speedily rose to wealth and eminence. In 1639 ne 
was sheriff, in 1645 Lord Mayor, and for his sufferings 
as a Royalist was made a Baronet in 1660. He used his 
riches well, for besides giving " the house of his nativity 
to be a Free School for the education of the Town-born 
children of Wem," he founded the Readership of Arabic 
at Cambridge, and bore the expense of translating the 
gospels into Persian. 

The first head-master was the Rev. Richard Roderick, 
M.A, of Christ Church, Oxford, who -retained the post 
till his death in 1674. At first the school was carried on 
in a large room over the Market House, but in August, 
1665, a Mr. Wycherley, who had bought the manor of 
Wem, forbade its further use for this purpose, and from 
that time the teaching was done in the church till a 
schoolhouse was built in 1670. The premises were 
rebuilt in 1776. 

The Free Grammar School of DONINGTON, in the 
parish of Wroxeter, was instituted in 1627 by Thomas 
Alcocke, and endowed with 13 6s. 8d., and thirty years 


afterwards Richard Stevenson by will left a like sum. 
This school was originally kept in Wroxeter Church till 
a house and six acres of land were given by some unknown 
benefactor. It was intended for forty boys, inhabitants 
of Wroxeter and Uppington, to be prepared for the 
University, and among its head-masters have been 
Goronwy Owen, "the Premier Poet of Wales," and John 
Douglas, " Scourge of impostors and terror of quacks," 
Bishop of Salisbury 1791-1807. Of his days at Donington 
Richard Baxter, author of The Saints' Rest y wrote : 

The present Lord Newport and his brother were then my school- 
fellow* in a lower form ; and Dr. Richard Allestree, now Doctor of the 
Chair in Oxford, Canon of Christ Church, and Provost of Eton College ; 
of whom I remember, that when my master set him up into the lower 
end of the highest form, where I had long been chief, I took it so ill, 
that I talkt of leaving the School. Whereupon my master gravely but 
very tenderly rebuked my pride, and gave me for my theme : Ne sutor 
ultra crepidam. 

George Rowland Edwards, of Ness Strange, who served 
in the Hon. East India Company's Army 1816-62, and 
retired as Colonel of the 2nd Madras Cavalry, was a 
distinguished scholar of a later date. 

At NEWPORT there was a school attached to the 
Collegiate Church (founded by Thomas Draper in 1442), 
and in 1547 it was under the charge of Richard Robyns, 
one of the Brethren of the College. When this was 
dissolved, and its income seized, 5 was allowed to 
Robyns for his work, and no doubt also to his successors, 
for in 1581 a sum of 5 was ordered to be paid to the 
schoolmaster from the former college lands, and 5 is still 
given from the Land Revenues of the Crown. In 1633 
William Robson, a member of the Salters' Company of 
London, and native of Newport, gave 5 per annum to 
the master of the free school of Newport, but his bene- 
faction was soon thrown into the shade by the liberality 
of William Adams, citizen and haberdasher of London. 
He, by a deed dated November 27th, 1656, re-founded 
the school and endowed it with considerable landed 


property at Knighton, Adbaston, and Woodease. Four 
years later an Act of Parliament was obtained appointing 
the Master and Wardens of the Fraternity of the Art or 
Mystery of Haberdashery in the City of London as 

Mr. Adams, in turn, wished Thomas Chaloner, 
ejected from Shrewsbury and Market Drayton, to be head- 
master of his new school. Cromwell's assent was obtained 
through the influence of one of his chaplains, Thomas 
Gilbert, Rector of Edgmond, " the Bishop of Shropshire," 
as he was sometimes called, a man of great power at the 
time ; and Chaloner could now thankfully describe him- 
self as one 

Cujus, vexata procellis 

Innumeris, perpessa minas coelique marisque, 
Tandem tuta Novo consedit cymbula Portu. 

The school was formally opened on January 7th, 1656-7, 
the head-master bringing forty-five boys with him from 
Ruthin ; in sixteen months the numbers were sufficient 
to warrant the appointment of a second master, and a 
school list dated January 26th, 1658-9, contains as many 
as 242 names. 

The statutes, constitutions, and orders made and sub- 
scribed by the founder for the government of his school 
bear the date February 2nd, 1656. Among them are : 

(i) The School to be free to 80 scholars for the teaching of the Latin, 
Greek, and Hebrew tongues or any one of them. 

(5) The School hours to be March 10 to Sept. 10, from 6 to n a.m., 
and from i to 5 p.m.; Sept. 10 to March 10, from 7 to n a.m. 
(except in the two months when the days are shortest it is to 
be from 7.30 to 11.30), and from i to 5 p.m., or as long as day- 
light continues ; no candles being allowed for teaching in the 
School at any time. 

(15) No scholars that have attained such progress as to be able to 
speak Latin shall either within or without school speak English 
when they are among the scholars of the same or a higher form. 

(18) No scholar shall at any time with knife or otherwise cut, notch, 
or deface, wainscot, forms, seats, &c. The Master upon con- 
viction shall inflict exemplary punishment for deterring of others 
so to do. 


Thomas Brown, the humorous, though somewhat coarse, 
poet, buried in Westminster Abbey in 1704, and William 
Cureton, the eminent Orientalist, Canon of Westminster 
and Chaplain to Queen Victoria, were Newport Grammar 
School boys ; and here also was Sir Oliver J. Lodge, 
F.R.S., the famous Physicist, Principal of Birmingham 
University, though only for a short time, since he left 
when but 14: 

In 1644 Jhn Pearsall, of Hawn, gave by will 5 
towards building a free school at HALESOWEN, formerly 
a detached portion of Shropshire ; and a Commission, 
sent down from the Court of Chancery in the time of 
the Commonwealth, endowed it with houses and lands. 
Here William Shenstone, the poet, received his early 

At HIGH ERCAL Thomas Leeke, Baron of the 
Exchequer, of the family now settled at Longford, founded 
a Grammar School in 1662, but since 1887 the funds have 
been too low to admit of its being carried on. 

Lastly, WHITTINGTON once possessed a Grammar 
School, the gift of Peter Webster, and dating back to 

Of Endowed Village or Elementary Schools there are 
many in Shropshire founded before the eighteenth 
century. At Onibury, for instance, William Norton in 
1593 left an annual sum of 6 135. 4d. for the education 
of the children of that place ; at Barrow a Mr. Slaney 
in 1612 founded a school for sixty pupils ; at Alveley, John 
Grove, a native of the parish and Freeman of the London 
Grocers' Company, in 1616 bequeathed 10 to be paid 
annually to the village schoolmaster; at Tong, Lady 
Pierrepoint revived the old College School dormant for 
more than a hundred years, and in 1656 left yearly sums 
of 4. for teaching poor girls to read, and i for their 
books; at Claverley, the National School is supported by 
the legacy of Richard Dovey, who in 1659 gave land, the 
proceeds thereof to clothe and educate fourteen boys; 

a. ^^jfiat* 




at Lydbury NortE, John Shipman, house-steward at 
Walcot, by his will of May 26th, 1662, left 200 for the 
erection of a room in which all the poor children in the 
parish might be instructed, and his master, John Walcot, 
gave an annual endowment for it of 4. ; and at Chirbury 
in 1675 the Vicar, Edward Lewis, built a school-house and 
endowed it with 20 a year to pay a master. Elsewhere, 
too, there were parish schools carried on at least as early 
as the seventeenth century; for example, at Alberbury 
and Bitterley, the former taught by the parish clerk, the 
latter under the superintendence of the churchwardens, 
who in 1697 paid "for chimney money for ye schoole, 
I os." At Middle also there was a school before 1642, for 
in that year Gough tells us, "the old Communion Table 
was brought into the schoolehouse for boyes to write on ; 
the old Reading Peiw was likewise brought into the 
schoolehouse for the schoolemaster to sitt in." And, as 
the Church Register declares, "Abraham Howell, of 
Ashford Carbonell, schoolmaster, was the loth of October, 
1653, chosen to be register (sic) for the parish of Ashford 

Before leaving the schools of Shropshire, mention 
should be made of the proposed university at Shrewsbury 
and the once-famous academy at Sheriffhales. Richard 
Baxter, the divine, in 1656 wrote to his friend John Lewis : 

I am most desirous to treat with you about a Colledge with academicall 
priviledges for Wales, and I am glad that you and Dr. Ellis! favor it. 
I did ten years agoe expound it to Col. Mackworth2 but succeeded not. 
Halfe a yeare ago I expounded it to Major Genii. Berry,3 who promised 
me his best assistance, but the want is money. Till we see a probability 
for that it is in vaine to gett authority. I heard of a Shrewsbury man 
liveinge in London worth ^40,000 that had no child to leave it to, and 
wrote to him though a mere stranger my strongest arguments to move 
him to bestow on such a foundation ; but could not prevail. If you could 
but get ji,ooo stock to build so much of a Colledge as would containe 
an hundred students and but 200 or ^300 per annum at first laid to it, 

1 Vicar of Dolgelly, and Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford. 

2 Governor of Shrewsbury. 

3 Cromwell's Major-General. 


I say if you could first procure assurance of this much either from one 
yt shall be ye founder, or by contribution, I make no doubt to procure 
authority from ye Protector and Parliament, and some hundred pound* 
per annum addition from my friends, perhaps many, for many will give 
to such a work when they see it in a hopefull way, yet will not begin it 
as not knowinge who will helpe it on. I conceive Shrewsbury ye only 
fitt place in many respects, ist It's a capable place where may be suffi- 
cient accommodations and a place of some name : and A little within 
ye verge of England is best that your sons may learne English : 3rd It's 
a place of strengthe, if warre should arise ye students may be secured : 
4th It's a strength where they may live without military entanglements. 
Ludlow Castle will not be trusted to scollars unless they turned soldiers 
and ye. town would not secure them, nay ye castle will draw ruine on them : 
5th It is a healthfull seat : 6th There is a gallant free schoole allready 
to perceive for ye academy, and I know no reason but 100 or ^200 per 
annum might be allowed out of ye now superfluous maintenance of ye 

Despite all Richard Baxter's efforts, his scheme came 
to naught, but less than twenty years afterwards at Sheriff- 
hales was started a real Academy i.e., a provincial 
university a place where the higher branches of learning 
were taught, and where youths were trained in special 
arts and sciences for the learned professions, and not a 
mere private school, into which the name has now 
degenerated. It was conducted by the Rev. John 
Woodhouse, who at one time had between forty and 
fifty students, including Henry St. John, Viscount 
Bolingbroke ; the two sons of Sir Edward Harley, Robert 
Earl of Oxford and Edward the Auditor; Thomas, Lord 
Foley ; Thomas Hunt of Boreatton ; members of the 
Winnington and Lechmere families, besides many theo- 
logical students. The pupils were of the same age at 
which others at that date went to Oxford or Cambridge, 
and the provision for their instruction was as varied as 
that of the Universities themselves. The lectures 
comprised courses in Logic, Anatomy, and Mathematics, 
followed by Physics, Ethics, and Rhetoric. Lessons were 
given in Greek and Hebrew. Law lectures were provided 
for those who had entered at the Inns of Court or were 
intended for the legal profession ; while those who aspired 


to the pulpit were taken through a course of theological 
study. All students, without exception, were obliged to 
read certain works on natural religion and Christian 
evidences ; and as Grotius was one of these authors, we 
see a previous knowledge of Latin was taken for granted. 
Practical exercises were not neglected. Debates were 
held on Fridays, and on Sundays the elder theological 
students were called upon to take part in the family 
devotions, not only in prayers composed by themselves, 
but in setting psalms to tunes. On other days they were 
employed in surveying land, composing almanacs, making 
sundials of different construction, or dissecting animals. 
Altogether it was a liberal curriculum, and for about 
twenty years this Academy was a good substitute for the 
Universities, from which so many were in those days 
barred by the Test Acts. Its life lasted probably from 
about 1675 to 1 696.! 

Such is a short and superficial review of the educa- 
tional facilities enjoyed by Shropshire at foundations prior 
to the eighteenth century, for those of a later date do 
not come within the scope of this paper. And from the 
facts herein mentioned we must, I think, arrive at the 
conclusion that this was a county in which the advantages 
of learning, both classical and elementary, were in former 
times more adequately supplied than in many, or perhaps 
most, of the others in England. 


IFrom information kindly supplied by the Rev. A. T. Mitchell, M.A., 
F.S.A., Vicar of Sheriffhales. 



HROPSHIRE has its fair share of representative 
buildings. We can hardly count among them 
the hut circles and camps on the hills, nor the 
strongholds among the meres and woodland. 
The Roman buildings, too, have been reduced to buried 
foundations, with the one exception of the " old wall " of 
the public baths at Uriconium. Our Saxon forefathers 
also have left little trace of their dwellings, and the Lady 
of Mercia's castles at Oldbury and Chirbury are now 
simply earthen mounds differing little but in size from the 
sites of the homes of the Saxon franklins shown in 
several villages, notably at Shawbury, by a moated mound 
near the church, and at Humphreston, near Tong. 

The Britons of Powisland were Christians before Offa 
in the eighth century wrested Pengwern from their hands* 
but (unless we except the foundations of a very early 
church existing under the flooring of St. Mary's, Shrews- 
bury) there is no trace of a Christian building before the 
later Saxon days. 

Perhaps one of the most early Christian monuments 
now to be seen in Salop is the cross built into Wroxeter 
Church. It dates from the eighth or ninth century, and 
may have been erected on the outskirts of the old Roman 
city that the Saxon tillers of the fertile land should feel 
protected from the evil spirits supposed to haunt the ruins 
of the forsaken Roman nouses. 



Milburga, a daughter of Merewald, the son of Penda, 
a sub-King of the Western Hecani, in the latter part of 
the seventh century founded a religious house at Much 
Wenlock, and ruled over it until her death. The late 
Captain Williams-Freeman, whose knowledge of Shrop- 
shire was unrivalled, both in breadth of view and accuracy 
of detail, said that she must have been a woman of power 
and foresight, for the lands of her abbey bore trace of 
her wise rule even in the present day. The little church 
of Barrow, near Wenlock, contains Saxon work which 
may go back to the eighth century, almost to her time. 
The church of Stottesden has Saxon carving above the 
western doorway that now leads into the base of the 
tower; it seems to be a rude representation of a hunting 
scene, with very upside-down animals. The date is 
probably of the early eleventh century, rather earlier than 
the Saxon work remaining at Stanton Lacy Church, where 
the north wall of the nave and the north transept show 
the unmistakable long and short work of the period. 
Stanton Lacy was probably built in the reign of Edward 
the Confessor, and was in good repair during the time that 
Norman architecture was in fashion, for there is no trace 
of that style, and the present chancel is Early English of 
the thirteenth century. 

The church of Diddlebury in Corvedale has Saxon 
work in the north wall of the nave and the base of the 
tower. The church of Wroxeter has also a little Saxon 
work in the north wall, in which Roman material has been 
worked up. Rushbury Church, which stands near the site 
of a Roman station, has a piece of early walling incor- 
porating Roman work in its twelfth century nave. 

The coming of the Norman brought in a new order 
of things. The timber homestead of the Saxon franklin, 
defended at most by a ditch and palisade, made way in 
many cases for the Norman castle. The manor of 
Stanton-in-Corvedale, for instance, was given to a Norman 
brron, Helgot, who built there the castle which gave the 


place its name of Castle Holgate. Another Norman, 
Corbet, and his son Roger, founded the great castle of 
Caus, which they called after their Norman home. The 
border manor of Weston was defended by the castle of 
Whitchurch, and that of Meresburie by Oswestry. 

Speed credits Shropshire with thirty-two castles, and 
these were mainly of Norman foundation. The majority 
of these have left no trace beyond the steep mound on 
which their keep stood. Shrewsbury and Ludlow, how- 
ever, still remain the one with a Norman gateway, the 
other with its round chapel and other fragments of Norman 
work. Probably the four fortresses mentioned in the 
Domesday Book Shrewsbury, Oswestry, Montgomery, 
and Stanton (now Holgate) were not buildings of a very 
permanent character, and were added to and altered 
considerably during the twelfth century. 

We have no Norman house left in Shropshire. Roger 
de Montgomery built himself one at Quatford, and founded 
a church and castle there, but within fifty years it was 
eclipsed by Bridgnorth, and not even a portion of the 
church dates back to his day. Had this not been the case, 
we might perhaps have found there, as we do at Christ- 
church in Hampshire, a stately church, a Norman house, 
a small castle upon its mound, and a borough in their 
shadow, all standing together, as their founder intended 
them to be. 

The Norman barons of Holgate built their castle near 
the Saxon Collegiate Church, and as the years went on 
they possibly added to the dignity of the sacred building 
as they added to the strength or comfort of their strong- 
hold. Holgate Church possesses a very fine doorway of 
late Norman work, and an equally fine font of the same 
date. In 1 109 Henry I. stayed at Holgate, and the castle 
must then have been a building of some pretensions ; but 
now little remains but the lower portion of a round tower 
incorporated in a later farm-house. The great castle of 
Caus had its chapel within its walls, as had all the larger 


fortresses, but the smaller were content to be near the 
parish church. 

The Normans were great church as well as castle 
builders. All four of the Shrewsbury parish churches bore 
traces of their handiwork, and the nave of the abbey 
church there still stands in its massive grandeur. There 
are few of the remaining village churches of early 
foundation that have no Norman work visible, and the 
twelfth century was an era of much church building. The 
beautiful chancel of Shifnal dates from the early, and that 
of Wroxeter from the late, twelfth century. 

In addition to more or less stately parish churches, the 
Norman masons have left us several small chapels of 
beautiful proportions and good detail. One now in ruins 
is at Malins Lee, and another stands much as its builders 
left it, at the Heath, in the parish of Stoke St. Milborough. 

The early thirteenth century saw this activity in 
building abated in Shropshire. Buildwas, Lilleshall, 
Haughmond, and Wombridge abbeys were all foundations 
of the twelfth century, though their buildings were altered, 
improved, and added to in later times, and there was no 
violent break between the styles of architecture. The 
pointed arch was developed for structural reasons from 
the round, but there is not very much Early English 
work to be found in Shropshire. It was a stormy time, 
and men had the Norman buildings still firm and strong. 
The church of Cleobury Mortimer contains good work 
of the early thirteenth century, as does also that of 
Chirbury. The former was near the castle of one of the 
most powerful barons of the time, and the other, though 
in an exposed position on the Welsh border, was under 
the protection of the lords of Montgomery. 

The latter part of the thirteenth century saw the rise 
of town life and the decay of mere fortress-castles. Men 
began to build themselves manor-houses fortified by a 
moat and a wall which they " crenellated " by royal licence. 
Some fourteen of these " licences to crenellate " were 


granted for Shropshire houses during the period 1272- 
1399, between the accession of Edward I. and that of 
Henry IV. The earliest of these was that given in 1284 
to Robert Burnel, Bishop of Bath and Wells and Lord 
Chancellor of England, to embattle his house of Acton 
Burnel, and the second was that granted to Lawrence de 
Ludlow, seven years later, for his mansion of Stokesay. 
At Acton Burnel we have the shell of the bishop's house 
remaining, with some hundred yards away the great 
gable ends of what is popularly called a barn (having 
possibly served that purpose in later times), but which is 
probably the remains of the earlier mansion house where 
Edward I. stayed with his Chancellor in 1283 for the 
purpose of holding the Parliament of Acton Burnel. 
Almost within the precincts of the castle of 1284 stands 
the church, one of the most beautiful thirteenth century 
buildings to be found among English churches, carefully 
restored and reverently kept. The bishop seems to have 
begun the church about 1260, and to have finished it some 
twenty years later, for there is a slight break in style 
between the chancel and the nave, though both are Early 
English of the thirteenth century. The manor-house is a 
quadrangular building, with a small courtyard. All the 
internal walls are gone, but it is possible to trace the 
great hall, which was over an undercroft, and some of the 
other rooms. 

The present Hall is said to have grown up round the 
gatehouse of the bishop's mansion, and, if so, the precincts 
of the latter must have been of considerable extent. The 
churchyard was originally on the north side of the church, 
contrary to the usual custom, and probably the south side 
joined the outer precincts of the manor-house. 

Stokesay is another notable example of late thir- 
teenth century work. The hall still stands with its roof- 
timbers stained with the smoke of its brazier fire, and 
though the house was continuously inhabited from the 
time of Lawrence de Ludlow, or perhaps earlier, till the 



eighteenth century, generations have added to it without 
much alteration of the early work. The church at 
Stokesay stands just outside the precincts of the manor- 
house, but it suffered grievously during the troubles of 
the Civil Wars, and was largely rebuilt in 1654. 

There seem to have been a number of important houses 
capable of being held against an enemy which never 
received the licence to crenellate. Shropshire abounds in 
moated sites, sometimes occupied by later buildings, some- 
times lying desolate, with the more modern manor-house 
a short distance away. At Longnor, midway between 
Shrewsbury and Church Stretton, only mounds and broken 
ground show where once stood the house of the 
Sprenchose family, for the building of which in the early 
thirteenth century Roger Sprenchose had a grant of trees 
from the royal woodland at Womerton, near Stretton. The 
thirteenth century chapel still stands in the park beside 
the mill-pool a few yards from its site, and the mill, which 
was at work when the Conqueror came, still fulfils its 
task of grinding corn. Another trace of old days is left 
at Longnor in the Moat-house, which is mentioned in a 
deed of the thirteenth century. Within the moat is a 
small half-timbered house, part of which is of mediaeval 
work, and the whole probably represents the buildings of 
an early farm. 

Another moat-house in the neighbourhood is near 
Stapleton, but that was a more ambitious building, being 
the manor-house of the family of de Stapleton, who were 
of great importance during the thirteenth and fourteenth 
centuries, and held Stapleton from the time of Stephen 
till the middle of the fifteenth century. Though the 
present buildings are later, they stand on the foundations 
and show the plan of the mediaeval manor-house. On 
the south side of the moated enclosure stands the house, 
and on the other sides are the farm buildings, forming a 
quadrangle entered through a gatehouse on the eastern 
side. When the great gates were closed and barred in 



olden times the whole was capable of resisting a consider- 
able force before the days of firearms. Unlike the 
majority of early manor-houses, the moat is a considerable 
distance from a church. Stapleton Church is a mile away, 
near a mound which may have been the site of a Saxon 
house, or was a meeting-place in the forest which for a 
century after the Conquest stretched across the country. 
The church is of early thirteenth century date, and is 
remarkable as having once been in two stories. Possibly 
the lower portion was intended for use as a storehouse, 
which might be safe, under the protection of the church, 
from the marauders that were only too numerous in those 
days. Perhaps the oldest inhabited house in the county 
is that of Upper Millichope, once the residence of the 
Forester of the Long Forest, within the bounds of which 
Stapleton lay. 

Binweston, near Worthen, the old home of the Kerry 
family, is another moated house, and in the woodland that 
lay in Pontesbury parish, but near Shrewsbury, are three 
or four houses that retain their moats. 

At Pitchford, as at Longnor, the church and manor- 
house stood together ; but while the church dates from the 
early thirteenth century, the present house does not go 
back further than the close of the fifteenth. Aston Aer 
also retains its twelfth century church, founded by Robert 
Fitz Aer, but the house of the Fitz Aers is now incor- 
porated in farm buildings, and the gateway forms the 
nucleus of a modern house. 

With the exception of those for Acton Burnel, Stokesay, 
and the now vanished Warranshall, near Moreton Say, 
all the Shropshire licences to crenellate are of fourteenth 
century date ; but of these only Cheney Longville, near 
Wistanstow, remains, and that in a much altered condition. 
It is moated, and, like the moat-house at Stapleton, the 
buildings rose out of the moat and surround a courtyard 
entered by an arched gateway. The lower portion of the 
work of 1395 remains, but the roof is modern. 


Apley Castle, Sheriff Hales, Whitchurch, Dawley, the 
Charltons* mansions at Shrewsbury and Withiford, have 
all disappeared. A few fragments are to be seen of the 
house of Austin Friars at Shrewsbury, crenellated in 1344, 
and a crumbling turret staircase still stands at Middle, 
where John le Strange in 1307 built his castle. Tong, 
crenellated by Fulk Pembruge in 1381, was rebuilt in 1500 
by Sir Harry Vernon, and his house was in turn masked 
by modern building about 1765. 

Ludlow Castle was repaired and strengthened by Roger 
Mortimer in the time of Edward II., but later suffered 
considerably during the Wars of the Roses, and needed 
some additions before, under Edward IV., it became the 
seat of the Court of the Marches. Vaughan's mansion 
in Shrewsbury, though hidden by later building, still 
retains its hall of the late fourteenth or early fifteenth 
century date, but it is the only remnant of the early 
mansions of the town, except a few fragments of Cole 
Hall, used as a stable and a workshop, and the picturesque 
corner of Bennett Hall known as the " Old Mint." 

Many of the more stately Shropshire churches contain 
fourteenth century work, especially in their chancels, and 
the church of Neen Sollars is wholly of this date, as is its 
neighbour at Nash. The latter is a very simple building, 
by no means so picturesque as the little cruciform church 
at Neen Sollars, with its spire rising among the cherry 
orchards. The magnificent church at Ludlow is mainly 
of the fourteenth century, with the addition in the following 
century of the tower and the east end of the chancel and 
its fittings. Possibly its grandeur is to some extent owing 
to the patronage of the Mortimers, though probably more 
to the generosity of the burgesses of the town, as the 
burgesses of Newport enlarged their church at this date 
without the aid of a resident lord. The Mortimer family 
seem to have enlarged the church of their town of 
Cleobury in the fourteenth century by a north aisle ; and 
the Mortimers of Chelmarsh in 1345 built the chancel and 


nave of the church there, which remains to this day a 
beautiful example of Decorated architecture. 

Albrighton, Claverley, Shifnal, and Worfield, on the 
east of the county, and Clungunford, Berrington, and 
Pontesbury, on the west, all have chancels of the four- 
teenth century; and at Hughley, once a manor of the 
Mortimers, the whole church dates from this period ; 
while in many earlier churches we find Decorated windows 
inserted. At Stanton Lacy and at Wrockwardine the 
upper part of the tower is of fourteenth century date, but 
the majority of our Shropshire towers are Perpendicular 

Kinlet has transepts and chancel built at this time, 
when the Mortimers, Earls of March, had an interest in 
the manor ; so it seems possible that the work may be 
due to some band of masons specially patronised by them. 
The chancel and south aisle of Stottesden Church are 
perhaps the most beautiful example of Decorated work 
in the county, and they were probably built about 1340, 
when John de Seagrave was lord of the manor, through 
whose daughter and heiress the estates passed to the Dukes 
of Norfolk. 

The fifteenth century saw the rise of half-timbered houses 
and the prevalence of Perpendicular forms in architecture. 

Pitchford Hall is said to go back in part to 1475, 
though this is perhaps doubtful ; and the fine corner house 
of Butcher Row in Shrewsbury dates from the close of this 
century, and to this day shows the original arrangement 
of the shops on the ground floor. The house on the Wyle 
Cop where Henry of Richmond slept in 1485 still stands 
to show how well men built in the fifteenth century ; and 
probably there are several smaller houses scattered about 
the county equally old. The house now known as the 
" Small House," at Condover, is a good specimen of a 
country house of about this date ; and part, certainly, of 
Coton, near Hodnet, goes back to the latter part of the 
century. The prior's lodging at Much Wenlock is a most 


interesting example of fifteenth century stonework, and 
consisted originally of sets of chambers opening on to a 
covered gallery. 

The builders of the fifteenth century have left us in 
Shropshire many good timber roofs, like that of Alberbury 
Church and the more simple one at Ford. Tasley and 
Ford possess screens of simple design ; Hughley, Lydbury 
North, and Bettws-y-Crwyn more elaborate ones ; and 
many churches, like Ditton Priors, show fragments of a 
fifteenth century rood screen worked up in later woodwork. 

Tong is a perfect example of a church of the early 
fifteenth century. It was built about 1410 by Elizabeth 
de Pembruge in memory of her husband, and, with the 
exception of the Vernon chapel built in 1515, the fabric 
remains much as she left it on her death in 1447. The 
beautiful screen-work is probably a little later than her 
day, but we know that much of the woodwork in Ludlow 
Church was carved in 1447. 

The church of Battlefield was built about 1409 by 
Roger Ive, of Leaton, Rector of Albright Hussey and of 
Fitz, as that of a college of five chaplains and a warden, 
who were to daily pray for the souls of those slain in the 
battle of Shrewsbury in 1403. Dame Elizabeth Pembruge's 
church was also colleg ate. Her college of Tong was for 
five priests (one of whom was the warden) and thirteen 
poor, seven of whom should be those too infirm to help 
themselves. Unlike Tong, the church of Battlefield fell 
into ruin, and when in 1861 it was restored as it now 
stands many of the details needed to be added by the 
modern architect. 

Both at Tong and Battlefield the buildings of the 
college have wholly disappeared, but at Tong there are 
still at the west end of the church a few fragments of the 
fifteenth century hospital of the college. 

The half-timbered church of Melverley is an interesting 
example of fifteenth century work ; and Trelystan church, 
on the Long Mountain, once in the parish of Worthen, 


although in the county of Montgomery, is of similar work, 
and almost equally picturesque. 

The great glory of fifteenth century architecture is its 
towers, and nearly every stately tower in Shropshire dates 
from the second half of the fifteenth or the first half of 
the sixteenth century. The tower of Battlefield was 
finished in 1 503 ; the splendid tower of Ludlow a little 
earlier; while those of Church Stretton, Claverley, 
Edgmond, Upton Magna, Shawbury, are only a few of 
those to be found scattered up and down the county. 

The tower of St. Leonard's, Bridgnorth, was rebuilt on 
the old lines of the one dating from 1468 ; and the spire 
of Worfield is of similar date. Ellesmere Church has a 
good deal of work of this century, and the Abbey Church 
at Shrewsbury has many Perpendicular features, including 
the great west window. The spire of St. Alkmund's is 
wholly fifteenth century work ; while at St. Mary's and 
St. Julian's an upper storey of this date crowns earlier 
work. This is the case with several other towers, and the 
ambition of fifteenth century builders which prompted 
them to place a lofty superstructure on earlier work not 
intended originally to bear so great a weight is responsible 
for the fall of more than one building. It is not 
improbable that this had to do with the fall of the church 
of Whitchurch, as a drawing of the church before 1710 
shows a very fine fifteenth century central tower ; and 
possibly also with that of Condover in 1660, as there is 
a tradition of a central tower there which in its fall crushed 
the nave and north aisle. 

The sixteenth century was one of peace and prosperity 
throughout England. Wealth increased in all ranks, 
especially among the middle classes, and comfort was 
more considered than in early days. Squires and 
merchants, yeomen and tradesmen of every degree, built 
themselves houses fitted for the new luxuries, and there 
is hardly a town or parish in Shropshire that cannot show 
a house, larger or smaller, of this date. In Shrewsbury a 



fine half-timbered house at the corner of Princess Street 
and the Square is dated 1570, and the equally fine Owen's 
mansion bears the date 1592. A now much plastered 
house at the bottom of the Wyle Cop was standing in 
1573, when it belonged to Thomas Sherar, Clerk of the 
Court of the Marches. The " Olde House" on Dogpole 
belonged to an earlier official of the Court, one of the 
Rocke family, and the Princess Mary Tudor is said to 
have stayed there when on her way to Ludlow Castle, 
where she resided in state. 

The White Hall is another Shrewsbury house of the 
sixteenth century, finished in 1582. The old market hall, 
so familiar an object to all who know Shrewsbury, was 
finished in 1 596 ; and the fine half-timbered market-house 
at Much Wenlock is possibly a little earlier in date. 

Wellington possessed an equally fine market-house in 
1804, but it has now disappeared, as has the similar one 
at Church Stretton. 

It would take up these pages unduly to enumerate all 
the sixteenth century country houses still remaining in Salop 

Benthall, near Broseley, and Belswardine date from 
the first half of the century; Madeley Court and Elsich 
from about the middle ; and Acton Scott, Upton Cressett, 
Condover, Shipton, and Wilderhope from the close. Park 
Hall is a magnificent example of a half-timbered front of 
1555, and Marrington Hall of 1595. The house at Bridg- 
north where Bishop Percy was born in 1728 bears the 
date 1580, and there is a fine half-timbered house at 
Dun vail of about the same date. 

Condover Hall is the finest of the stone houses of this 
date in the county. It was built between 1586 and 1598, 
and is a very perfect specimen of the time. 

The brick mansion of Lutwyche Hall has the date 
1581, but is later in some details than Condover. Like 
Orleton, near Wellington, it bears considerable traces of 
alterations and additions of the eighteenth century. 

The White Hall, near Shrewsbury, already alluded to, 


was in process of building in 1578, when Richard Prince 
bought fifteen hundred oak trees from Acton Scott for 
use in its construction. 

Moreton Corbet, now only a picturesque ruin, bears 
the date 1578 in one place, but has traces of building of 
both earlier and later years. Boscobel, well known from 
its associations with Charles II., was built at the close of 
the sixteenth century or the very beginning of the seven- 
teenth ; and Plowden Hall is about the same date. In 
both houses hiding-places were deliberately planned that 
they might afford refuge to the persecuted Roman priests 
whom Elizabethan law pronounced guilty of high treason 
since the Pope had declared the Queen to be illegitimate 
and a usurper of the English throne. 

In the days when banks did not exist and there were 
few opportunities for investing money, provision was often 
made for secret cupboards, and these are to be found in 
smaller houses of this date quite as frequently as in larger 

The number of Elizabethan farm-houses scattered over 
the county is a striking witness to the prosperity of the 
country under " Good Queen Bess," and several of these 
contain cupboards in unexpected places, where valuables 
could be stored. Many of these houses were built by 
the owners of small estates for their own use, as, for 
instance, Alderton, near Shrawardine, the house of the 
Heylins, and later of the Wingfields, where some panel- 
ling bears the date 1591. Moat Hall, once the home of 
the Berrington family, is a picturesque example of a 
smaller manor-house, and contains some good panelling. 

In the sixteenth century the era of church-building had 
passed, and, except some towers, and a few windows 
inserted to give the light required by the service of the 
English Prayer-book, our churches bear few marks of that 
period. The tower of Wroxeter Church is remarkable as 
having been built after the dissolution of the Abbey of 



Haughmond in 1535, and has many carved stones from 
it worked into its walls. 

The despoiling of churches in the reign of Edward VI. 
was not carried out so drastically in Salop as in some other 
counties, and if the sixteenth century did not give us 

From an] 


{Old Engraving, 

much in the way of Church architecture, it did not take 
away so much as in some districts. 

We lost, however, the buildings of five great abbeys 
and several lesser religious houses. The three churches of 
the friars in Shrewsbury, two in Ludlow, one in Bridgnorth, 


and one at Woodhouse, near Cleobury Mortimer, were 
swept away, and more than one foundation for the poor 
and infirm shared the same fate. 

During the concluding years of the century a few 
churches received alterations and additions. The chancel 
of the little church of Shipton was built in 1589; and the 
roof of Shifnal Church was renewed after a disastrous fire 
in 1591. Several early parish books record work done to 
churches at this period, but it seems generally to have 
consisted of whitewashing or painting texts on the walls. 

The little half-timbered church of Halston is of later 
date, and of seventeenth rather than sixteenth century 

The seventeenth century saw a change in the fashion 
of building. The early part connects itself with the time 
of Elizabeth, and the houses of that date are very similar 
to those of the sixteenth century ; whilst those built in 
the time of returned prosperity after the Civil Wars are 
of the comfortable solid red-brick type familiar through- 
out the eighteenth century. 

Habberley Hall, Greet Court, and Stanwaxdine, near 
Baschurch, are apparently of the early part of the seven- 
teenth century. Whitton Hall, near Ludlow, is said to 
date from this century, but it embodies much earlier work ; 
as does also Plash Hall, which was re-modelled by Judge 
William Leighton, who died in 1607. Some part of 
Stokesay Castle bears traces of the time when Lord Craven 
is said to have prepared it as a retreat for the " Queen 
of Hearts," the widowed Countess Palatine, daughter of 
James I. 

Ludstone Hall, dated 1607, is practically Elizabethan 
in style. Loton, built partly in 1630, shows a many-gabled 
garden front, somewhat similar to Chetwynd, where 
Charles I. stayed in 1645. Pool Hall, near Alveley, shows 
the same picturesque gables at the back, though the front 
is eighteenth century work. High Ercall, built in 1608, 
also shows a gabled front. Braggington, near Alberbury, 


bears the date 1674 on its porch, but its style and plan 
are of the early seventeenth century; and Petsey, near 
Hodnet, which is dated 1634, seems not to be all of one 

There was little building done during the Common- 
wealth, either of private or public edifices, excepting in 
a few cases in the towns. 

The resources of the Royalists and Parliamentarians 
alike were exhausted by the war, and though much 
property changed hands, the new owners were generally 
content with the houses of their predecessors. Gough, in 
his History of Middle, mentions that Sir Vincent Corbet 
was so heavily fined for his loyalty to the King that he 
sold several lands, among them a very good farm at Preston 
Brockhurst, which was bought by " Mr. Wingfield, of 
Shrewsbury, who pulled down the hall and built there a 
fair hall of freestone." This house still stands, and shows 
that the traditions of the Elizabethan builders were still 

The Old Schools (now the Free Library) at Shrews- 
bury were partially built in 1617, and finished about 1630; 
and the house built at Grinshill as a country school-house 
in time of plague of any kind was erected about 1624, but 
they are later in general feeling than many buildings of 
similar date. 

The Town Hall of Bridgnorth was rebuilt during the 
Commonwealth to replace the one destroyed in the siege, 
which had stood outside the walls of the town. The 
burgesses, being much impoverished by the wars, did the 
work as economically as possible, and bought the materials 
of an old barn to help them in their building, which, after 
four years' work, was finished in 1652. 

There was a considerable amount of church-building 
during the seventeenth century, and in Shropshire gener- 
ally the forms of the Gothic builders were retained 
throughout the period. Some of the work might be taken 
for that of the fourteenth century until the shallowness 


of the mouldings and the comparative thinness of the 
walls is noticed. 

Langley Chapel, near Acton Burnell, has fittings of the 
early seventeenth century, and possibly the fabric of the 
building is also of late date. The Communion Table is 
brought out from the east wall, and all round is a seat 
and a desk for kneeling. The reading pew is also of 
curious design, with a wooden canopy. 

The west window of Church Stretton Church was given 
in 1619 by Mrs. Jane Norton, who in her will in 1640 left 
a rent for keeping in repair the " west windowe and seats 
adjoyning in the west end of the Churche of Stretton 
(which it pleased GOD to give me leave to build)." 

Many churches possess woodwork of this century, but 
often only in the form of pews, which have of necessity 
given way to seats more fitted for worship and less for 

There are a goodly number of Jacobean pulpits, some 
exceedingly well carved and all interesting. Great Ness 
has Altar table and rails of this date, and Pitchford has an 
interesting pulpit and pews. The chancel of Bromfield 
has a wonderful painted plaster ceiling of 1672 covered 
with coats of arms of almost unique design. 

The Civil Wars brought partial ruin to several 
churches, as, for instance, High Ercall, which now consists 
of seventeenth century walls built between 1657-1662 to 
fit in with arcades of twelfth century work, with a good 
seventeenth century tower. Shrawardine was ruined 
during the siege of the neighbouring castle, and shows 
patched walls and a roof of 1650. Stokesay Church had 
a similar experience, and was partially rebuilt in 1654, and 
apparently finished some ten years later. 

The north aisle of St. Mary's, Shrewsbury, was rebuilt 
during the Commonwealth on the old Gothic lines, but 
not on the same foundations as the mediaeval aisle. 

The nave and tower of Condover Church are perhaps 
the finest example of seventeenth century church-building 


in Salop. They date from 1661, when they were erected 
on the site of the earlier nave and north aisle which fell 
down in November, 1660. The oak roof of great span 
is a remarkable feature, and the whole building recalls a 
college hall rather than an ecclesiastical building. The 
tower was finished a few years later than the nave, though 
its architectural features are those of the fourteenth 

The little church of Benthall, built in 1667 to replace 
the church nearer the hall destroyed in the Civil Wars, 
has less Gothic feeling than the work at Condover, and 
the quaint little church of Minsterley, dating from the 
close of the seventeenth or early years of the eighteenth 
century, is wholly Renaissance in character. 

After the Revolution, when the country settled down 
and prosperity returned to the leading families, the fashion 
of houses had changed, and men followed the lines of the 
formal Dutch style. 

The Isle, near Shrewsbury, shows well the sequence of 
building that took place in the case of many manor- 
houses. There is there the moated site of the first house, 
built in a strong position overlooking the Severn, with 
the little chapel beside it ; then on another site was the 
unfortified Elizabethan house, with its half-timbered 
gables; and, later, beside this was built about 1680 the 
present many-windowed red-brick house, all straight lines, 
with long panelled rooms, and far more bedroom 
accommodation than was considered necessary in the 
sixteenth century, when ideas on the subject were still, to 
modern thought, somewhat primitive. 

Shavington, built about 1679, is another house more 
roomy than beautiful; and Aldenham, almost rebuilt in 
1697, has small pretensions to beauty; but Longnor, 
built by Sir Richard Corbet in 1688, is of picturesque 
design; while Court of Hill, near Ludlow, and Halston, 
once the home of Jack Mytton, have the charm of solidity 
and comfort. Cound Hall, which bears the date 1706, is 


of very similar design, and an equally substantial building. 
Soulton Hall, near Wem, though it bears the date of 1681, 
is of earlier design as a whole, and the date probably 
refers simply to the elaborate doorway. 

Shrewsbury and Ludlow and the other Shropshire 
towns possess good examples of substantial houses of the 
end of the seventeenth and beginning of the eighteenth 
centuries, and there are several smaller country houses of 
this date, such as Whitton, near Westbury, which have all 
the comfort that modern owners can wish. Sometimes, as 
at Fitz Manor, the pleasant, well-lighted panelled rooms 
have been added to the substantial, but rather cramped, 
building of earlier date; and at Berrington the fine half- 
timbered Hall near the church has a seventeenth century 
brick addition at the side. 

There is little break in general style between the work 
of the late seventeenth and the early eighteenth centuries. 
Hardwick, near Ellesmere, built in 1733, Sandford in 
1720, Davenport in 1727 (in the place of the old house of 
Hallon), Kinlet in 1729, the Lodge (near Ludlow) in 1721, 
Buntingsdale in 1731, and Berwick (near Shrewsbury) 
about 1740, are all good examples of the time adapted to 
the requirements of our present everyday life. There are 
less notable houses of the same date in every part of the 
county, like Ford House and several houses in Shrewsbury 
and the other towns, with stately oak staircases and 
pleasant panelled rooms. 

Henley, near Ludlow, dates from 1772; Hatton 
Grange, near Shifnal, from some twenty years earlier ; 
Leighton Hall, near Ironbridge, from 1778, and Lyth- 
wood from 1782. Attingham and Brogyntyn are stately 
classic houses of the close of the eighteenth century, and 
Tong Castle, as it now stands, is of similar date. 

The eighteenth century was in its own way an era of 
church-building. Whitchurch Church is a dignified and 
well-proportioned building of about 1710. Fitz is a good 
specimen of brickwork of 1721, and Leighton an example 


of Georgian work of about 1716, following the lines of 
an earlier church. Great Bolas was finished in 1/29, and 
Moreton Say was cased with brick somewhat later. In 
1 734 briefs were issued for the re-building of the churches 
of Longdon-on-Tern and Eyton-upon-the-Wild-Moors. 
Montford Church was rebuilt in 1736, and Petton in 1727, 
though it contains a pulpit bearing the date 1635. 
Preston-on-the-Wild-Moors Church, as well as the 
adjacent hospital for aged women, both date from the 
first half of the eighteenth century. Indeed there is 
hardly a church remaining in the county that does not 
bear some trace of this century either in its fabric or its 
fittings ; but modern hands have swept away the coved 
ceilings, baize-lined pews, and much plaster and white- 
wash. The " Churchwarden " windows have given place 
to restorations of mediaeval work, and the " three-deckers " 
are now things of the past. 

The close of the century was a terrible time of 
vandalism. Shrewsbury had seen the nave of St. Julian's 
Church rebuilt in 1749 on the ground that the old church 
had become ruinous; and in 1798 it saw the fall of the 
central tower of old St. Chad's and the demolition of the 
ruins. This was followed by the rebuilding of 
St. Alkmund's on the ground of economy, urged by not 
disinterested parishioners. 

St. Mary Magdalen's, Bridgnorth, was rebuilt in 1792 
after a design of Telford, the engineer ; and the church of 
Wellington in 1790; while in 1796 the church where the 
saintly Fletcher of Madeley preached was replaced by the 
present edifice. 

There were a large number of Nonconformist chapels 
licensed in the second half of the eighteenth century, but 
as a rule their architecture was of a very simple descrip- 
tion, and several have been replaced in modern times by 
more ambitious edifices. 

A vivid picture of the treatment to which old churches 


were subjected by eighteenth century builders may be 
gathered from the history of Market Drayton. At a 
vestry meeting in 1 786 " it was agreed to remove the 
roofs of the aisles and cover them with slates ; to take 
down the west end of the south aisle, and as much of the 
south wall as was between the west end and the south 
porch, and to raise the walls four feet. A large doorway 
was made in the tower, and two smaller ones at the east 
end ; the north and south porches were taken down and 
the doorways walled up, and sixteen new windows of 
uniform design inserted." The transformation into blank 
ugliness can be imagined without the aid of the sketches 
furnished to demonstrate the " improvement." 

The early nineteenth century saw less brick work and 
more stone, or, failing stone, stucco. 

Willey Hall was built about 1815, and Onslow about 
1820, and there are many smaller houses of about the 
same date. Sundorne Castle and Apley Park are examples 
of the beginning of the revival of Gothic ideas, and 
Rowton Castle has work of the same period added to 
earlier building. 

There was little change in style till quite modern days, 
which do not come within the scope of this sketch, and 
antiquaries of the future will find considerable difficulty in 
assigning a date to much nineteenth century building. 
Netley Hall, for instance, built in 1857, might well be dated 
some fifty years earlier from its general design. 

Church-building sank to its lowest ebb about 1815. 
The early eighteenth century buildings had been honest 
brickwork, but much of the early nineteenth was stucco 
and plaster, which fell out of repair almost in the lifetime 
of its builders. About 1830 began a feeling after mediaeval 
ideals, but it was several years before it really bore 
fruit ; and its result is too modern to come into a paper 
on " Old Shropshire." 




I HIS is a difficult chapter to write. The difficulty 
does not arise from want of material, either as 
regards the number of those whose doings might 
claim insertion, or as regards the details of their 
lives. It lies in the selection of those most suitable for 
the purposes of the book. A large number of Illustrious 
Salopians have been already mentioned incidentally in the 
course of the volume, and it would be easy to mention 
many more names of men distinguished in almost every 
walk of life, but the alternative would be either to 
conduct the reader through a valley of dry bones, or to 
extend the chapter to an excessive length. All that can 
be done is to point out various directions in which men 
of the county have specially distinguished themselves, 
giving more in detail the careers of those who appear 
specially representative. 

To begin with pursuits in which Salopians have 
achieved least distinction, it must be confessed that in 
what are known as the Fine Arts those who have attained 
eminence are not very numerous. In the latter half of 
the eighteenth century two painters, father and son, 
attained considerable local celebrity, but were not much 
known outside of the county. These were James Bowen, 
who died in 1774, and John, his son, who died in 1832. 
Views of Shrewsbury from their hands are among the 
most interesting and valuable of the old engravings of 
the town ; and the painters merit a brief notice here 
from the fact that both of them were antiquaries as well 
as painters, the father being probably the real author of 



the History of Shrewsbury published in 1779 under the 
name of Phillips. 

Contemporary with the younger Bowen was a Shrop- 
shire painter more widely known, but now largely 
forgotten. This was William Owen, born in 1769. In 
his earlier life he was encouraged by the favourable notice 
of Sir Joshua Reynolds, and he became R.A. in 1806. In 
1813 he was appointed principal portrait-painter to the 
Prince Regent, who offered him knighthood. He died 
in 1824. 

Another artist of the same name, better known locally, 
nourished a little later. This was the Rev. Edward Pryce 
Owen, son of Archdeacon Hugh Owen, one of the authors 
of Owen and Blakeway's History of Shrewsbury. Born in 
1788, and educated at Cambridge, He was for some years 
Vicar of Wellington, Salop. Some of his etchings adorn 
the History just mentioned, and the volume containing the 
complete collection commands a considerable price. 

Probably, however, the best-known of Shropshire 
artists is John Boydell, whose long life (1719-1804) almost 
coincided with the eighteenth century. Born at Stanton- 
on-Hine-Heath, near Wem, he forsook the business of 
land-surveying, for which he was originally intended, and 
apprenticed himself to an engraver in London. About 
the middle of the century he set up as an engraver and 
print-seller on his own account, and met with such success 
that he not only gained a considerable fortune, but by 
his patronage of others gave a great stimulus to art. In 
1782 he became an alderman of the city of London, and 
after being elected a sheriff three years later, became Lord 
Mayor in 1 790. His desire, however, to encourage art, and 
his previous success in that direction, led him to undertake 
a work which was beyond his powers. He commissioned 
the leading artists of the time to paint pictures illustrating 
the works of Shakespeare, and built a Shakespeare Gallery 
for their exhibition. The engravings were used in a fine 
edition of the Dramatist, published in 1802 ; but the 
expense which Boydell had incurred in his scheme was 


enormous, and as the convulsions on the Continent 
following the French Revolution had largely destroyed 
his other business, he found himself in financial difficulties. 
To escape from these he applied to the Government for 
permission to dispose of his property by means of a lottery. 
Permission was granted, but before it was carried out the 
old man died, on December I2th, 1804, at the age of 
eighty-five years, leaving a character for generosity in the 
use of his wealth of which Salopians may well be proud. 

If we turn to the sister art of music, it must be 
confessed that the record is a very meagre one. Salopians, 
as contrasted with the inhabitants of many other English 
counties, as well as the Welsh just over the border, are 
not a musical race, and the county has produced few 
musicians of any eminence. Perhaps the most dis- 
tinguished was Henry John Gauntlett, and he lived in 
comparatively recent times. His father, who was Vicar 
of Olney, was a friend of Rowland Hill, and the musician 
was born at Wellington, Salop, in 1805. He filled in 
succession the post of organist at more than one well- 
known church in London, and edited various musical 
works. Several of his hymn tunes are still popular, and 
find a place in most collections. He died in 1876. 

An earlier and better known Shropshire musician is 
Dr. Charles Burney, father of Madame D'Arblay, and 
author of the History of Music. He was bora in 1726 at 
Shrewsbury, where the entry of his baptism is to be found 
as " Charles Macburny " in the Register Book of 
St. Mary's parish. He spent most of his childhood at 
Condover, but received his earlier musical education partly 
in Chester and partly in Shrewsbury, completing it in 
London under Dr. Arne. For some years he was organist 
at King's Lynn, but he afterwards filled a similar post at 
Chelsea Hospital, where he died in 1814. He was author 
of various books of travels, but his most important work 
was the History of Music, which occupied several years in 
publication, and is still a standard work. 

When we turn to poetry, the county has a better record 


to show. Allusion has already been made to three Shrop- 
shire poets of mediaeval times, John Audelay, John Mirk, 
and William Langland ; and when we come to the 
sixteenth century we encounter another who was not only 
born in the county, but made it the subject of his verses. 
It would be absurd to call Thomas Churchyard a great 
poet, for some of his effusions are bald to the last degree ; 
but he is worthy of mention as one who was honoured with 
the notice of Spenser, though he blamed him for writing 
too much. Born in 1520 at Shrewsbury, the eighty-four 
years of his life were full of ups and downs, a con- 
siderable portion being spent as a soldier of fortune, 
in which capacity he saw service in most of the wars of 
the time. He appears to have been a restless spirit, who 
was constant to scarcely anything except the use of his 
pen, by which he produced more than sixty separate 
books, varying in length from pamphlets to quarto volumes, 
some in prose and some in verse. The principal local 
allusions are to be found in his Worthines of Wales, 
published in 1587, and dedicated to Queen Elizabeth. It 
contains at considerable length a description of the streets 
and buildings of Shrewsbury, and, apart from poetry, is 
valuable as a contemporary record. 1 The general level 
of his poetry may be illustrated from another volume, 
published eight years earlier, entitled the Miserie of 
Flaunders, Calamitie of Fraunce, Misfortune of Portugall, 
Unquietnes of Irelande, Troubles of Scotlande, and The 
Blessed State of England. Apropos to the last item 
he says : 

This He is Kirnell of the nutte 

And those that neare us dwell, 
Our forraine neighbours rounde about, 

I count them but the shell. 

With this excellent sentiment he may be left to the reader 
to study for himself. 

Passing to the seventeenth century, we find Shropshire 

1 Cf. the author's Shrewsbury, pp. 249-252. 


producing better poetry but much worse sentiment. 
William Wycherley, born at The Clive, near Wem, about 
1640, was one of the dramatists of the Restoration period, 
and shared their faults to the full. Intended for the law 
and educated at Oxford, he forsook his profession at an 
early period and became a man about town, where his 
ready wit and handsome person secured him success ; but 
his career was by no means one for imitation. He married 
a young widow, the Countess of Drogheda, but the 
marriage was unhappy, and after her death he fell into 
pecuniary difficulties, and spent some years in the Fleet 
prison. He wrote four comedies, of which The Plain 
Dealer was the last and best ; and it is said that James II., 
having seen this, was so pleased that he paid his debts 
and gave him a pension. He died in 1704. His plays 
were very popular in their day; but, though clever, they 
are artificial in their view of life, and to a modern reader 
are stupid as well as coarse comedies of manners, and 
those manners bad. 

Wycherley was contemporary with Farquhar, who was 
so far connected with Shropshire that he wrote his play 
of The Recruiting Officer while staying at Shrewsbury; 
but he was also contemporary with another writer who, 
like himself, was probably Salopian born. This was 
Thomas, or, as he was usually called, Tom Brown. He 
was born near Shifnal in 1663, and educated at Newport 
Grammar School, from which he passed in 1678 to Christ 
Church, Oxford. Here he soon fell into irregular habits, 
and was threatened with expulsion by the Dean, Dr. Fell, 
but is said to have been spared in consequence of his 
epigram : 

I do not love thee, Dr. Fell, 
The reason why I cannot tell ; 
But this I know, and know full well, 
I do not love thee, Dr. Fell. 

He left Oxford, however, without a degree, and betook 
himself to London to live by his pen. His writings 


cover a large field both of prose and verse, and show not 
only wit, but learning. They are, however, everywhere 
tainted with indecency and scurrility. There were few 
of his contemporary writers whom he did not lampoon, 
including Dryden, Sherlock, and the authors of the old 
version of the Psalms, Sternhold and Hopkins. His 
personal life was on a par with his writings, much of his 
time being spent in a low tavern in The Minories ; but on 
his death, in the same year as that of Wycherley, he was 
honoured with a burial in the cloisters of Westminster 

We pass over about half a century and we come to 
another Salopian poet, inferior indeed in genius to those 
already mentioned, but of much higher moral character. 
This was Ambrose Phillips, who was a friend of Addison, 
and who provoked the enmity of Pope. The entry of his 
baptism is to be found in the Register Book of 
St. Alkmund's Church, Shrewsbury, under the date 
October gth, 1674, and he was educated at Shrewsbury 
School, passing from thence to St. John's College, 
Cambridge. He afterwards spent some years in Ireland, 
and sat as member for Armagh in the Irish Parliament. 
He died in 1748. After the fashion of his age he wrote 
Pastorals, whose shepherds and shepherdesses were abso- 
lutely unreal ; but though his works are wholly neglected 
now, there is genuine poetical feeling to be found in them. 
Some of his other poems, addressed to all sorts of people 
in the way of compliment, provoked a considerable amount 
of ridicule from some of his contemporaries, particularly 
Pope, and they procured for him a nick-name which has 
become a recognized English word namely, "Namby 

Another writer of the Pastoral School who was con- 
temporary with Ambrose Phillips, but slightly younger, 
belonged to old Shropshire, though he could not be claimed 
as Salopian if he were living now. It has been already 
mentioned in connection with the Abbey of Halesowen 


that it stood in a detached portion of this county now 
transferred to Worcestershire. In the same parish was a 
small estate known as " The Leasowes," and here, in 1714, 
was born William Shenstone. The estate belonged to 
his father, and in due time descended to himself. Here 
he spent his life, which he devoted mainly to laying out 
and improving its grounds. In the ponderous words of 
Johnson, he made it his employment " to point his 
prospects, to diversify his surface, to entangle his walks, 
and to wind his waters, which he did with such judgment 
and fancy as made his little domain the envy of the 
great and the admiration of the skilful : a place to be visited 
by travellers and copied by strangers." " The Leasowes " 
became celebrated, and in all the old Gazetteers of 
Shropshire, whatever else is omitted, the reader may 
be sure of finding several pages devoted to the description 
of Shenstone's landscape garden. He is probably known 
even now quite as much by his ornamental grounds as by 
his poems or his essays ; but his Schoolmistress^ in which 
he describes his own early experiences, is still sometimes 
read. In his later years his excessive expenditure on his 
estate brought him into pecuniary difficulties, and he sank 
into a disappointed and querulous old man. He died in 

Space will not permit more than a mention of the 
poetry of Bishop Heber, who was Rector of Hodnet before 
he became Bishop of Calcutta. His sudden death in 
India in 1826 cut short a career that had already yielded 
good fruit and was still full of promise. Some of his 
hymns are among the most popular in the language. 

Allusion should also be made, in passing, to J. F. M. 
Dovaston, who was almost entirely identified with the 
county, and was the author of a volume of poetry, 
Fitz Gwarine and other Poems, as well as other works 
which were extensively known in their day, and contain 
many local allusions. He inherited a small estate at West 
Felton from his father, who had been a friend of 


Shenstone, and here he found his happiness in the study 
of nature, and literature associated with it, till his death in 
1854. One other poet demands mention namely, John 
Moultrie, born at Cleobury Mortimer in 1799, where his 
father was Vicar. He was educated at Eton, and after 
his ordination became Rector of Rugby, a post he filled 
for many years, dying in 1874. His poems are largely 
autobiographical, and contain many local allusions. Some 
will recognize, for example, his description of Cleobury 
Mortimer : 

Tranquil town : 

Grey, venerable church with steeple white 
Up tapering to the dim and distant sky 
Church in whose gothic aisles I first beheld 
And joined, as childhood could, the solemn forms 
Of Christian worship. 

In the sister art of the actor, Shropshire also makes 
but a poor show. It is said, indeed, that Will Summers, 
the jester of Henry VIII., was a Shropshire man ; but 
whether this were so or not, the county certainly produced 
a little later one of the first who distinguished himself in 
the acting of low comedy. This was Dick Tarleton, a 
native of Condover, who added to his natural possession 
of a strong comic vein the attraction of a comic expression, 
enhanced by a broken nose. He was introduced to the 
Court by one of the servants of the Earl of Leicester, 
whose notice he had attracted while engaged in feeding 
his father's pigs ; and he was appointed by Queen 
Elizabeth one of her twelve special players, whose duty 
it was to amuse Her Majesty, especially during meals. He 
became a great favourite, and, in the words of Fuller, 
" when the Queen was serious and out of good humour, he 
could undumpish her at his pleasure. In a word, he told 
the Queen more of her faults than most of her chaplains ; 
and cured her melancholy more than all her physicians." 
For some time he kept a tavern in Gracechurch Street, 
performing from time to time at the Curtain Theatre, 


Shoreditch. He died suddenly apparently of the plague 
in 1588, and was buried at Shoreditch Church. 

The only Salopian who achieved distinction in tragedy 
belongs to more modern times, William Henry West Betty, 
familiarly known as the " Young Roscius," who was born 
at Shrewsbury in 1791. His popularity arose from his 
extreme youth, for he made his first appearance as an 
actor before he was twelve. His characters were mostly 
heroic, including Hamlet, Macbeth, and other creations 
of Shakespeare ; and for a while the fashionable world ran 
after him. After a retirement of some years he returned 
to the stage, but his success as a man was not great, and 
in 1824 he went back into private life, enjoying the 
fortune he had made till his death in 1874 at the age of 
eighty-two years. 

When we turn to the record of distinguished ecclesias- 
tics we find that Shropshire has contributed its full share. 
Mention has already been made of Reginald Heber, Bishop 
of Calcutta, and alongside of him we may place Thomas 
Percy, Bishop of Dromore, the lifelong friend of the 
Blakeways, and author of the Reliques of Ancient English 
Poetry, who was born in 1729 at a house in Bridgnorth, 
which still remains a fine specimen of half-timbered work. 
Samuel Butler, the reviver of Shrewsbury School at the 
beginning of the last century, became Bishop of Lichfield 
in his later days, and at a more recent period Bishop 
William Walsham How maintained the honour of the 
county by his work in the East of London and afterwards 
at Wakefield. 

But these only form the concluding links of a long 
chain, for the beginning of which we must go back to 
mediaeval times. Perhaps the greatest ecclesiastic whom 
Shropshire has produced was Robert Burnell, the 
friend and Chancellor of Edward L, who was born 
at Acton Burnell in the early part of the thirteenth 
century. His family had hitherto occupied no distin- 
guished position, but it was his lifelong endeavour to 


benefit both his belongings and the place of his birth. 
The great legislative acts of Edward's reign owed 
much to Burnell, and the friendship between them 
subsisted unbroken till the Chancellor's death in 1292. 
The King procured his appointment to the See of Bath 
and Wells in 1275, and he used his best endeavours to- 
procure his elevation to Canterbury ; but if we may trust 
the contemporary chroniclers, Burnell's personal character 
was not free from reproach, and the Pope refused the 
King's request. Allusion has already been made to the 
important Parliament which was held at Acton Bumell in 
1283, and the castellated mansion which he erected for 
himself. It was his intention to raise his native village to 
the dignity of a market town, and though this intention 
did not prove successful, the church in particular remains 
a monument both of his interest in the place and his taste 
as an ecclesiastical builder. It is noteworthy also 
that half a century or so later Shropshire gave another 
bishop to Bath and Wells. Ralph of Shrewsbury, 
Chancellor of Oxford University, was consecrated to 
that see in 1329, and distinguished himself by reforming 
the abuses he found prevailing. Those acquainted with 
the Episcopal Palace at Wells will remember marks of 
the handiwork both of him and of Bishop Robert Burnell. 

Passing over a couple of centuries, we come to another 
statesman bishop, who has been already mentioned in 
another connection namely, Rowland Lee, who was not 
only Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, but, as President 
of the Court of the Marches from 1534 to 1543, did more 
than any of his predecessors in that office to suppress the 
disorders which prevailed on the Welsh border. He died 
at Shrewsbury in the College of St. Chad, of which his 
brother was dean at the time, and his remains were laid 
to rest in that church. 

Bishops in the next century who enjoyed considerable 
reputation in their own day, though now hardly remembered 
outside the circle of their de'scendants, were : John 



Bridgeman, chaplain to James I, appointed Bishop of 
Chester in 1619, a rigid opponent of the prevailing 
Puritanism ; and his contemporary, John Hanmer, also 
chaplain to the King, who was Bishop of St. Asaph 
from 1624 till his death, and who rests in the church- 
yard at Selattyn ; while to these might be added a con- 
siderable roll of men like Baxter and Fletcher, already 
mentioned, who, without attaining high ecclesiastical 

-.. <v *CSXnu r* 
'f< -*?$$. ** i.A.*.K 


From an] 


\Old Engraving. 

dignity, have achieved personal distinction, both in the 
ranks of the Church and of Nonconformity. 

When we turn from the arts of peace to that of war 
we have an array, not indeed large in number, but very 
distinguished men whose names will live as long as there 
is any record of England's past. The record of Salopian 
valour and generalship might indeed commence with the 
great Earl Roger himself, who led the right wing of the 
Conqueror's army at Hastings, but we pass to another 
great Earl of Shrewsbury, belonging to a different and 


later creation, but equally worthy of the title. John 
Talbot, of Blackmere, in the parish of Whitchurch, was 
one of the most conspicuous figures of the first half of 
the fifteenth century. At the very beginning of that 
century he saw service against the Welsh, and in 1414 he 
was made Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, a post which he also 
filled again at a later period. It was, however, in France 
that his main work as a military leader was done. It 
was the reign of Henry VI., the time when Joan of Arc 
was reviving the hopes of the French, and Talbot had the 
difficult work of sustaining the English power against her. 
He took part in all the battles of the period, and in that 
of Patay, in 1429, he was wounded and taken prisoner. 
In 1431, however, he was exchanged, and the following 
years witnessed a series of brilliant exploits on his part, 
including the capture of Harfleur and the recovery of a 
large French district. For this he was made Constable of 
France and Earl of Shrewsbury, or rather, strictly speak- 
ing, Earl of Salop, in 1442. After an interval spent in 
Ireland, he was again engaged in Normandy, and finally, 
at the age of eighty, he was despatched to the South of 
France to oppose the French in Aquitaine. The rest oF 
the story cannot be better told than in the quaint words 
of Fuller : 

This is that terrible Talbot so famous for his sword, or rather whose 
sword was so famous for his arm that used it : a sword with bad Latin 
upon it (Sum Talboti pro vincere inimicos meos) but good steel within 
it, which constantly conquered where it came, insomuch that the bare 
fame of his approach frighted the French from the siege of Bordeaux. 
Being victorious for twenty-four years together, success failed him at 
last, charging the enemy near Castilion on unequal terms, when he with 
his son the Lord Lisle were slain with a shot, July, 1453. Henceforward 
ve may say "Good-night to the English in France," whose victories were 
buried with the body of this Earl, and his body interred at Whitechurch 
in this county. 1 

Students of Shakespeare will remember how promi- 
nently Talbot figures as one of the principal characters of 
Henry VI., part I, and how the dramatist preserves the 

1 Fuller's Worthies (1811 edition), vol. ii., p. 260. 


tradition which is said still to exist in France, that he was 
so much feared " that with his name the mothers still 
their babes." In that play indeed Shakespeare contrives 
to comprehend the larger portion of his life and exploits 
up to the time when he and his son fell together at 
Chatillon. His connection with Shropshire did pot end 
with his life. After the battle his heart was separately 
embalmed, and his remains were buried at Rouen, but 
were afterwards brought to his native Whitchurch, 
where his heart was interred within the porch, and 
his body within the chancel of the church. When 
wounded years before at the Battle of Patay, he 
had charged his bodyguard of Whitchurch men to 
bury him in the porch of their church, "that as they 
had stood over his body and defended it while living, 
they and their children should walk over it when dead." 
The spirit of this injunction was faithfully carried out, 
though not for a considerable interval after his death ; but 
it was reserved for modern times to clear up several 
doubtful points. In 1874 it na cl become necessary to 
repair the tomb in the chancel, when two or three interest- 
ing discoveries were made. His bones were found 
reverently cared for in the original box in which they 
had been brought from Rouen, but an examination of 
the skull verified the statement of Holinshed that being 
first wounded by a shot he was despatched by a blow from 
a battle-axe while lying prostrate. The skull showed a 
wound exactly answering this description ; but it brought 
to light another incident that is pathetic in view of his 
greatness while living. Within the hollow where his brain 
had throbbed a church mouse at some distant period had 
made her nest, and the mummified remains of herself and 
her offspring were found close by. One is irresistibly 
reminded of Hamlet's reflection over the skull of Yorick 
" To what base uses may we return, Horatio." 1 

1 Cf. Shropshire Archaological Society's Transactions, vol. viii. , 1st series, 
p. 413, "Talbot's Tomb." 


But we must hasten on. Leaving untouched the 
leaders who distinguished themselves on both sides in the 
Civil War men like Francis Lord Newport and Sir 
Francis Ottley, of the King's party, and General Mytton 
who belonged to the Parliamentarians we come in the 
second half of the seventeenth century to the only seaman 
of distinction whom Shropshire appears to have produced. 
This was Vice-Admiral Benbow, born at Shrewsbury about 
1653. Running away from home, he served for a while 
in the merchant service, and then in the navy. Employed 
first against the French in the Channel, he was afterwards 
sent in command of a Fleet to the West Indies. Here, in 
a running engagement with the French Admiral, he received 
a wound of which he died at Jamaica, November 2nd, 1702. 

Something less than a quarter of a century after 
Benbow disappeared from the scene another military 
genius was born who must always rank among the greatest 
of Shropshire's sons. Robert Clive, born at the Styche, 
near Market Drayton, was an unmanageable boy for whom 
his friends were glad to obtain a writership under the East 
India Company which took him to that country. It was 
a critical time, when it hung in the balance whether India 
should pass into the hands of the English or their rivals 
the French. It was Clive who determined the question, 
first by his military genius and then by his administrative 
ability. It is not necessary to approve every act for which 
he was responsible in order to recognize his greatness. It 
was after his crowning victory at Plassey that he spent 
some time in England, during which he lived at Condover 
and became Member of Parliament for Shrewsbury. In 
the latter part of his career in India his resolute reform of 
abuses brought him into great unpopularity, and he was 
subjected to an enquiry before the House of Commons. 
Already shattered in health, both of mind and body, his 
physical ailments and the opium which he took to allay 
them proved too much for his mental balance, and he died 
by his own hand in 1 774. 


One other Salopian General must be mentioned, 
namely, Rowland, first Lord Hill of Hawkstone, who was 
born two years before Clive's death. He was the Duke 
of Wellington's great friend and helper, serving under him 
in the Peninsular War between 1808 and 1814, and at the 
Battle of Waterloo, leading the brigade which made the 
victory complete by sweeping the Old Guard of Napoleon 
off the field. His exploits were commemorated at the 
time by what is still a familiar object to his fellow 
Salopians the column at the top of the Abbey Foregate, 
Shrewsbury, commenced in 1814 and completed on June 
1 8th, 1816, the first anniversary of Waterloo. Sir Her- 
bert Edwardes, the hero of Moultan, who died in 1868, 
belongs to modern days. 

Enough has been said to show that the roll of illus- 
trious Salopians of whom all Europe has taken note is 
no slight one, but it is when we turn to the civil life of 
our own country that we encounter the largest array of 
all. Hulbert, in his Manual of Shropshire Biography, 
quotes a MS. of the date 1734, from which it appears that 
between the years 1512 and 1632 no less than twenty-four 
Salopians filled the office of Lord Mayor of London ; and 
whether this could be substantiated in every case or not, it 
was certainly true in most, for they bear unmistakably 
Shropshire names. The first was Sir Roger Acherley, 
born at Stanwardine, who attained the dignity in the year 
just mentioned ; but probably the best known of these 
early Lord Mayors was Sir Rowland Hill, of Hodnet, who 
was the first holder of the office who professed the 
Reformed faith and filled the post in 1550. He was a 
benefactor to the Churches of Hodnet and Stoke-on-Tern, 
and his memory is kept alive in the county by the obelisk 
surmounted by his statue, which stands in Hawkstone Park. 

A later Salopian Lord Mayor who filled the office after 
the date of Hulbert's MS. has been already spoken of in 
the person of John Boydell, the engraver, and the list 
might, it is believed, be added to in still later times. 


The genius, however, of Salopians in the direction of 
administrative capacity has shown itself beyond all others 
in the region of the Law. In the Introduction to the 
Visitation of Shropshire taken in 1623, recently published 
by the Harleian Society, is a list of no less than twenty- 
five Salopians who attained the highest legal positions, all 
with one exception within the period covered by the 
Visitation, and including three in each of the respective 
families of Bromley, Townshend and Onslow. This is a 
record which few other counties can pretend to rival, and it 
must be remembered that the list is very far from complete. 
It does not, for example, include men like Bishop Rowland 
Lee, already spoken of, and Sir William Leighton (buried 
at Cardington), whose administrative work was done in 
connection with the Court of the Welsh Marches ; nor 
does it include men who had not attained eminence till 
after the date of the Visitation, such as Sir Job Charlton. 
Sir Thomas Jones, Sir Thomas Powys and his brother Sir 
Littleton, Sir Edward Lutwyche, and others, all of whom 
became Judges ; and to mention only one of later date, 
Lloyd Kenyon, first Baron of that name, who filled the 
office of Chief Justice from 1788 to 1802. 

Of those included in the Visitation three may be 
specially mentioned on the ground that we owe to them, 
directly or indirectly, the building of three of the historical 
houses of the county. First, Sir Robert Brooke, of 
Claverley, who was Chief Justice of the Common 
Pleas from 1554 till his death in 1558, and who 
had previously filled the office of Speaker, purchased 
an estate at Madeley and erected on it the present 
Madeley Court. The house is now shorn of its glory, 
and its surroundings are grimy rather than sylvan, 
but it is full of interest for the antiquary, both for 
its architectural details and its historical connection with 
the wanderings of Charles II. after the Battle of Worcester. 
Another Judge of the Common Pleas, some forty years 
later, was Thomas Owen, who was nearly related to the 



builder of Owen's Mansion in Shrewsbury. He repre- 
sented the town in Parliament in 1584, and was also a 
member of the Court of the Marches. About 1588 he 
determined to build himself a house in his native county, 
and having purchased a small property at Condover from 
the Viner family, to which he added as opportunity 
offered, he proceeded to erect the present Condover Hall. 
About this time we have the record of a certain Free- 
mason, Walter Hancock, being strongly recommended 
to the Bailiffs of Shrewsbury by Sir Francis Newport 
when they were about to build the Market Hall in the 
Square ; and there is no doubt that the design for Judge 
Owen's house came from Walter Hancock. It appears to 
have been finished in 1594, but it is doubtful whether the 
Judge himself ever lived there. He died in 1598, leaving 
the estate to his eldest son Sir Roger Owen, who was 
himself learned in the law, and, as became a friend of 
Camden, was also a keen antiquary. Condover Church 
contains a monument to the memory of both father and 
son, as well as a daughter and her husband, and there is 
in Westminster Abbey a fine recumbent figure of the 
judge. The house has been fortunate in the treatment it 
has received in later generations, and still stands in its 
pristine beauty as one of the most perfect Elizabethan 
stone edifices in England. 

The mention of Sir Francis Newport introduces us to 
another family, of which no less than three members 
attained high legal dignity, and to another historical house 
now, alas! almost entirely passed away. Sir Thomas 
Bromley, to whom there is a fine monument in Wroxeter 
Church, was Chief Justice from 1553 to 1555. Sir Edward 
was Baron of the Exchequer from 1609 to 1626, while a 
second Sir Thomas had been Lord Chancellor from 1579 
to 1587. On the Dissolution of the Monasteries Sir 
Thomas Bromley the first purchased a portion of the 
estate belonging to the Abbey of Shrewsbury, including 
the house at Eyton-on-Severn, in the Parish of Wroxeter, 


which was the pleasant summer residence of the Abbot 
This property passed through his only daughter to her 
son Francis Newport, already mentioned as the patron 
of Walter Hancock. Sir Francis was a great builder, and 
having apparently employed Hancock in building his 
house at High Ercall itself one of the historical mansions 
of the county which figured largely in the Civil War 
he proceeded to add to the abbot's house at Eyton, making 
it a more stately residence for himself. Whatever his 
work, however, it has now passed away with the exception 
of two turreted summer houses which flanked the terrace 
walk, and clearly date from the beginning of the seven- 
teenth century. Eyton, however, has another association 
which should be mentioned. The eccentric Lord Herbert 
of Chirbury was born there, as he tells us in his Auto- 
biography, and he spent part of his childhood there in 
company with his younger brother George, whose memory 
is still kept green in all devout minds by his sacred poems 
and his little treatise on the duties of a parish priest 
duties which he himself exemplified as Vicar of Bemerton, 
near Salisbury. 

It is time, hcfwever, to draw this chapter to a close. 
It might easily be extended to a volume from the quantity 
of material at hand to draw upon, and it has been difficult 
to compress without unduly sacrificing interest to brevity, 
but enough has been said to show that the roll of illus- 
trious Salopians, especially in practical life, is such as few 
counties can rival, and enough to convince the Salopian of 
the twentieth century that so far from belonging to a 
county of which he must be ashamed, he has only to look 
back on the centuries past to be stimulated to achieve dis- 
tinction himself, in the consciousness that like the great 
Apostle of Tarsus he is " a citizen of no mean city." 



Abbey, C. J., Religious Thought 
in Old English Verse quoted, 

and Overtoil's English Church 

in the Eighteenth Century 

cited, 117 
Abbeys, Five great Shropshire, 

dissolved, 249 
significance of, in early 

times, 201 
Abbot of Lilleshall's house in 

Shrewsbury, 79 
Shrewsbury : country house 

at Eyton-on-Severn, 273-4 
Abbots, Shropshire, summoned to 

House of Peers, 90, 201 
Act of Uniformity, 105, 107, no 
Acton, Sir Edward, captured at 

siege of Bridgnorth, 193 
Sir Roger, a prominent 

Lollard, 95 

Acton Burnell, 18, 28, 61, 240 
Church, thirteenth century 

building, 240 
Scott, sixteenth century 

house, 247-8 
Actors of Shropshire, Famous, 

Adams, Sir Thomas, founder of 

Wem Grammar School, 229 
William, benefactor of New- 
port Grammar School, 

Addenbrooke, John, headmaster 

of Market Drayton Gram- 
mar School, 227 
Adderley, 57 
Adeliza de Puiset, second wife 

of Roger de Montgomery, 

24, 70 

Admiral Benbow, 270 
Agricola of Tacitus quoted, 210 
Alberbury, 62 

Alberbury, old parish school at, 

2 33 

Church, timber roof, 245 

Priory, 82 

Albright Hussey Manor House, 

defence of, 175-6. 
Albrighton, its history and anti- 
quities, 45, 46 
Church, chancel fourteenth 

century, 244 

Alcock, John, Bishop of Ely, 144 
Alcocke, Thomas, founder of 

Donington Grammar 

School, 229, 230 
Aldenham, rebuilt in seventeenth 

century, 253 
Alderton Estate, changed hands 

after the Civil War, 194, 

Alfred the Great : his law as to 

the education of children, 


Alveley, endowed elementary 

school at, 232 
Anarchy, Shropshire during the, 

The, not without good 

results, 16 

Anchorites in Shropshire, 68 
Ancient towns found mostly on 

the borders of the county, 

Andrews, Eusebius, Secretary to 

Council of War, 169 
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle cited, I, 8, 

10, II 

Anne Boleyn, 100 

Apley Castle captured by the Par- 
liament, 178 

retaliation by the Royalists, 


Park utilized as block house 

in Civil War, 169, 256 




Appleton, John, Methodist 

currier, 116, 117 
Aqualate Mere, The mermaid of, 


Architectural Story of Shrop- 
shire, 236-256 
Aron, John, founder of Market 

Drayton Grammar School, 

Armourer, Captain, Royalist 

officer, 189 

Arrests in Church, 185 
Arroasian Canons, 78 
Arrow, The Golden, of Pontes- 

ford, 133 
Arthur, Prince, son of Henry 

VII., holds Court at Lud- 

low, 21, 144, 145 
Arundel, Archbishop, 96, 98 
Arundels, The, of Clun, 162, 202 
Ashford Carbonell, old parish 

school at, 223 
Ashton, Thomas, headmaster of 

Shrewsbury School, 221, 

Asteley, Lord, Royalist leader, 

Aston, country laid waste by 

Wulfhere as far as, 9 
Aer, a twelfth century church, 


Botterel, 62 

Atcham, birthplace of Ordericus 

Vitalis, 67 
Bridge Garrison, capture of, 

Church utilized as a block 

house during the Civil 

War, 169 
dedicated to Eata, early 

British missionary, 67 
Atcherley, James, headmaster of 

Shrewsbury School, 224 
Sir Roger, Lord Mayor of 

London, 271 
Attingham, see Atcham 
Hall, classic eighteenth cen- 
tury house, 254 
Audelay, John, Canon of Haugh- 

mond and poet, 76, 77, 260 
Austin Canons, 75-81 
Auden's Shrewsbury cited, 260 
Friars in Shropshire, 90, 243 

Bacon, Lord, on the Council of 

the Marches, 153 
Bagbury, the roaring bull of, 63 

Bailiffs, town, dispute with head- 
master of Shrewsbury 
School, 222, 223 

Baldwin, Archbishop, and the 
Crusades, 83 

Baldwyn-Childe, Mrs., cited, 49 

Bangor Iscoed, many monks of, 
slain at Chester, 8 

, Celtic Monastery or College 

at, 65, 68 

Barnet, Joshua, of Wrockwardine, 
1 08 

Baronage of Shropshire, The 
feudal, 197, 198 

Barrow Church contains Saxon 
work, 237 

, endowed elementary school 

at, 232 

Basil Wood, of White Abbey 
(1715), his map cited, 205 

list of county families, 205, 


Battles in Shropshire : 
Hopton Heath, 168 
Ludford Bridge, 144 
Norton, near Stokesay, 190 
Shrewsbury, 19 
Whittington, 182 

Battlefield Church, built to com- 
memorate the battle of 
Shrewsbury, 19, 62, 245, 246 

Baxter, Richard, the Puritan 
divine, 108-111, 171, 231, 

proposes to found a Uni- 
versity at Shrewsbury, 233, 


Memoirs, quoted, 160, 230 

Beaufort, Duke of, 156, 157 
Beaufort Progress quoted, 157 
Beauties of England cited, 60 
Belesme, Robert de, 15, 27, 50, 

5 1 . 53. 82 
Belmeis, Philip de, 78 

Richard de, 78 

Belswardine, old country house, 

208, 247 
Benbow, Admiral, 270 

Lieutenant, 187 

Benedictines in Shropshire, 69-71 
Bennett, W., benefactor of Shif- 

nal Grammar School, 228 

Hall, Shrewsbury, 243 

Benthall, sixteenth century house, 

used as a block house in 

Civil War, 169 



Benthall Church, seventeenth cen- 
tury, 253 

Stone, near Alberbury, 63 

Berrington, half-timbered Hall, 

2 54 

Church, 244 

Berth Pool, Legend concerning, 

Berwick, eighteenth century 

house, 254 
Bettws-y-Crwyn Church, fifteenth 

century screen, 245 
Betty, the tragedian, Young 

Roscius, 265 
Billingsley, Col. Francis, Royalist 

leader, 192 

Binweston, moated house, 242 
Birch, Col., Royalist leader, 193 

fails to capture Ludlow, 189 

Bishops, how summoned to the 

House of Lords, 201 
Castle, history and anti- 
quities of, 57-59 
had two representatives 

in Parliament, 201 
Presidents of the Council of 

the Marches : 
Alcock, John, Bishop of Ely, 

Lee, Rowland, Bishop of 

Coventry and Lichfield, 146 
Smith, founder of Brasenose 

College, 145 
Voysey, John, Bishop of 

Exeter, 145 
Bitterley, old parish school at, 

2 33 
Black and White style used in 

some ecclesiastical build- 
ings, 208 
Black Birches, The, a good 

example of half-timbered 

house, 208 

Death, The, 94 

Friars, The, in Shropshire, 

Pool, near Longnor, Legend 

concerning the, 129 
Blackmere, birthplace of John 

Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, 

202, 268 
Blakeway, J. B., History of 

Albright on cited, 46 

his MSS. quoted, 158 

Blanchminster, see Osivestry 
Blount, Sir George's, ghost, 123 
Boat-building at Bridgnorth, 35 

Bolingbroke once student at 
Sheriffhales Academy, 234 

Bomere Pool, Legends concern- 
ing, 129, 131 

Boscobel House, 248 

Charles II. and the oak of, 21 

Bostock, Captain, Royalist officer, 

Bowen, Emanuel, his map of the 
county in 1751, 204 

James, painter, real author of 

Phillips' History of 
Shrewsbury, 257 

John, painter, 257 

Bowers, Bishop of Chichester, 
pupil of Shrewsbury School, 

Boydell, John, engraver, romantic 
career of, 258, 259, 271 

Braggington Hall, early seven- 
teenth century, 250, 251 

Braine, Major, Parliamentary 
leader, 191 

Bray, Thomas, once pupil in 
Oswestry Grammar School, 
and founder of the 
S.P.C.K. and S.P.G., 218 

Breidden Hills, last stand of 
Caractacus on, 4, 5 

Brereton, Sir William, Parlia- 
mentary General, 168, 
170-2, 192 

Breteuil, the law of, 52, 61 

Brampton Brian, 189 

Bridgeman, John, Bishop of 
Chester, 266, 267 

Sir John, Recorder of Lud- 
low, 1 60 

Bridgewater, Earl of, 155, 156, 
157, 162 

Bridgnorth, Danes encamp near, 1 1 

, Ethelfleda builds fortress at, 

besieged by Henry I., 15 

Henry II., 17 

Oliver Cromwell, 191 

Grey Friars at, 89 

elections " all on one side," 

1 60 

captured by Earl of Essex, 

165, 166 

defence of in the Civil War, 

169, 192, 193 

final capture by the Parlia- 
ment, 192, 193 

visited by Charles I. and his 

army, 167, 192 



Bridgnorth, history, trade, and 
constitution of, 31-35, 54 

Church (St. Leonard's) tower 

rebuilt in fifteenth century, 

Grammar School, short his- 
tory of, 215-217 

had two representatives in 

Parliament, 201 

Town Hall rebuilt during the 

Commonwealth, 251 

Brochmail, British leader, de- 
feated by Ethelfrith at 
Chester, 8 

Brogyntyn, a classic house of the 
eighteenth century, 254 

Bromfield Priory, 70 

Church, seventeenth century 

painted plaster ceiling, 255 

Bromley, Henry, of ShraWar- 
dine, Sheriff, 166, 169 

Edward, Baron of the Ex- 
chequer, 273 

pupil of Shrewsbury 

School, 225 

Sir Thomas, Chief Justice, 273, 


Lord Chancellor, 278 

Broncroft, 189, 190, 197 

Brooke, Lord, Parliamentary 
General, 168 

pupil of Shrewsbury School, 

224, 229 
Death of, 168 

Sir Robert, of Claverley, 

Speaker and Chief Justice, 

Broseley, 59, 60 

Brown, Thomas, the poet, a pupil 
of Newport Grammar 
School, 232, 261, 262 

Bryan, John, of Shrewsbury, 

Brythons, marks of the racial 
type of the, 3 

Buildings, representative in 
Shropshire, 236-256 

Buildwas Abbey, 74, 238 

utilised as a block house in 

the Civil War, 169 

Buntingsdale, an eighteenth cen- 
tury house, 254 

Burford, 61, 62 

" Burhs " established in every 
direction, 9 

Burke's Landed Gentry referred 
to, 205 

Burnaby, Colonel, pupil of 
Oswestry Grammar School, 

Burne's Shropshire Folk-Lore 
cited, 7, 67 

Burnell, Bishop Robert, enter- 
tained Edward I. at Acton 
Burnell in 1283, 18, 61, 
240, 265, 266 

Burney, Dr. Charles, author of 
History of Music, 259 

Burton, Edward, of Longnor, 
Protestant zeal of, 102, 103 

Butcher Row, Shrewsbury, corner 
house in, dates from 
fifteenth century, 244 

Butler, Dr. Samuel, headmaster 
of Shrewsbury School, 224, 

Butter Cross, near Alveley, 63 

Buttington, Danes pursued as far 
as, and there defeated, u 

Byron, Sir Nicholas, Royalist 
Commander, 168, 175 

Caer Digoll, British earthworks 
on Long Mountain, 8 

Caerleon in Monmouthshire, 65 

Calamy's "Nonconformists' Memo- 
rial cited, 105 

Calvin, Lord, Parliamentary 
leader, 183 

Camden cited, 31, 35, 37, 43, 49, 
5*, 53. 5 6 57. 58, 60, 


Capel, Lord, Commander of 

Royalist forces, 168-174 
Caractacus, defeat and capture 
of, 4 5 

Hole on Caradoc called after 

him, 135 
Caradoc, see Caractacus 

Wakes, 131, 135 

Carbery, Earl of, 156, 157 
Careswell Charity, the, 228 
Carmelite Friars at Ludlow, 90 
Gary, Sir Edmund, Royalist 

officer, 189 

Castellated mansions in Shrop- 
shire, Eyton's list of, 195 
Castle, significance of the, in early 

times, 20 1 

Castles in Shropshire referred to 
Apley, no, 169, 178, 243 
Bishop's Castle, 57 
Bridgnorth, 31, 192, 193 
Broncroft, 189, 190, 197 



Castles in Shropshire referred to 

Caus, 169, 190, 193, 238 

Cleobury Mortimer, 48, 49 

Clun, 38, 39 

Dawley, 60, 191 

Ellesmere, 16, 52 

Hodnet, 196 

Holgate, 62, 189, 237, 238 

Hopton, 176, 177 

Ludlow, 143-150, 154-158, 
170, 189, 193, 243 

Moreton Corbet, 51, 175, 183, 
184, 189 

Oswestry, 36, 37, 182 

Rouse, 189 

Rowton, 193 

Ruyton, 40 

Shrawardine, 63, 190, 193 

Shrewsbury, 13, 26 

Stokesay, 126, 190 

Stretton, 41 

Tong, 169, 180, 189, 243, 254 

Wem, 51 

Whitchurch, 42 

Whittington, 16 
destroyed in the Civil War, 

Eyton's list of early, in 

Shropshire, 196 
Edward I. builds border 

castles as protection against 

the Welsh, 19 
general disappearance of, as 

residences, 207, 239 
Henry II. reduces the number 

of feudal, 17 
in early times very numerous 

in Shropshire, 195, 196, 238 
their changed condition 

to-day, 197 
Caus, 6r 

Castle, 169, 190, 193, 238 

Ceawlin captures Uriconium and 

many other towns, 7 
and Cutha, victory over 

Britons at Deorham in 

577. 7 
victory at Feathanleag 

and death of Cutha, 7 
Celtic city on the site of 

Uriconium, 4 
and Saxon periods, history 

of, 1-12 

racial type, 3 

Chaloner, Thomas, headmaster of 

Shrewsbury School, 223, 


Chaloner, Thomas, entertains 
some of Charles I.'s court, 

becomes headmaster of 

Market Drayton Grammar 
School, 227 

becomes headmaster 

of Newport Grammar 
School, 231 

Changes in old Shropshire 
families, 195-209 

Charles I., 56, 153, 162-4, 166-8, 
190-2, 250 

II., 21, 46, 248 

Charlton, Margaret, wife of 
Richard Baxter, no 

Robert, of Apley, a prominent 

Parliamentarian, 163, 174, 

Sir Job, eminent judge, 272 

Charlton's Mansion, in Shrews- 
bury, 243 

Charter of King John to Shrews- 
bury, 15 

Chaucer quoted, 92-94 

Chelmarsh Church, Decorated 
architecture, 243 

Cheney Longville, a moated 
house, 242 

Chester, Shropshire manors owned 
by the Bishop of, 14 

Cheswardine, 62 

Chetwynd, 62, 190, 250 

Pigotts, The, 124 

Chicheley, Archbishop, 82 

Chirbury, 61 

Church contains early thir- 
teenth century work, 238 

first included in Shropshire 

in 1537, 202 

Ethelfleda erects a fortress at, 

12, 236 

Priory, 80 

village school built and en- 
dowed in 1675, 233 

Christianity, sources of Shrop- 
shire, 65-67 

Churches destroyed in the Civil 
War, 193 

used for military purposes in 

the Civil War, 172 n. 

Churchbuilding at low ebb, early 
nineteenth century, 256 

Churchyard, Thomas, the poet, 
quoted, 143, 149, 160, 210 

Church Stretton, its history and 
antiquities, 41, 42 



Church Stretton, old Market 
House disappeared, 247 

church tower built fifteenth 

century, 246, 252 

Cistercian Monastic Order, the 

Civilization, difference of early, 

between northern and 

southern part of the 

county, 2 
Civil War, the, in Shropshire, 

21, 22, 29, 162-194 
not a class struggle, but one 

of religion and government, 


Clanvowe, John, the Lollard, 96 
Clarendon's History cited, 166, 

1 88 

Classical Presbyteries, 106, 107 
Claverley, endowed elementary 

school at, 232 
Church, chancel fourteenth 

century, 244 
tower built in fifteenth 

century, 246 

Clay industry in Salop, the, 59 
Clee Hills, legends concerning, 


Cleobury Mortimer, 30 
castle besieged by 

Henry II., 17 
church contains early 

thirteenth century work, 

history and antiquities 

of, 48-50 
probably birthplace of 

William Langland, the 

poet, 91 

Clifford, Lewis, the Lollard, 96 
Rosamund (Fair Rosamond), 


Clive, Robert, Lord, 174, 187, 
188, 220, 270 

a pupil of Market Dray- 
ton Grammar School, 227, 

Clive's History of Ludlow cited, 

Clun, its history and antiquities, 


first incorporated, in Shrop- 
shire in 1537, 202 

Forest, inhabitants largely 

Welsh, 10 

Red deer and roe wild 

in, 195, 202 

Clun ; Francis, Earl of Arundel, 
of, 162 

Clungunford Church, chancel, four- 
teenth century, 244 

Cluniac Monastic Order, 71-73 

Coalbrookdale, 59 

Coal industry in Shropshire, the, 
54, 59, 60 

Coalport, 59 

Cobham, Lord, 96-98 

Cockayne cited, 121 

Cockfight money formerly pay- 
able at our Grammar 
Schools, 218 

Cole Hall, Shrewsbury, 243 

Colemere, legend concerning, 129 

Royalist troops encamped at, 


Collegiate churches, four, founded 
in Shrewsbury in Saxon 
days, 211 

Combermere, the monks and 
abbot of, 42, 57 

Commission of Array appointed 
for the county, 162 

for the regulation, continu- 
ance, and erection of 
schools during the Com- 
monwealth, 212, 219 

Committee of Sequestration's 
Report at the end of Civil 
War, 174 

of twenty appointed by the 

Parliament, 170, 178 

List of successes of the, 

191, 192 

Commons first legally summoned 
to Parliament at Shrews- 
bury, 1 8 

Commonwealth, little building 
done during the, 251 

Comus cited, 143, 155 

representation of, at Lud- 
low, 155 

Condover, 54, 131, 174 

Church, fall of, in 1660, 246 

rebuilding of, 252, 253 

Hall, one of the Elizabethan 

houses of the county, 207, 
247, 273 

" The Small House " at, good 

specimen of fifteenth cen- 
tury house, 244 

Constable of Ludlow Castle, the, 

Contributions, handsome, to the 
Royalist cause, 166 



Copper Mining under the Romans 
at Llanymynech, 5 

Corbet, Sir Andrew, 153 

Captain Pelbam, of Caus 

Castle, 185 

Colonel Thomas, Royalist 

officer, 189 

Jerome, 150 

John, of Adderley, Parlia- 
mentary leader, 168, 170, 

Richard, built Longnor Hall 

in 1658, 253 

Vincent, appointed Comman- 
der of regiment of Shrop- 
shire Dragoons, 167-169, 
189, 193, 194, 251 

Cornavii, British tribe of, 3-5 

their chief city at Uriconium, 

Corn Mill, ancient, at Longnor, 


Cornewall, Sir Thomas, 160 
Corporation of Shrewsbury, begin- 
ning of the, 26, 28 
apply f r the Abbey to 

be made over to the town, 

1 02 
Corporations, Municipal, origin 

and significance of, 201 
Corpus Christi Gild Procession, 

Coton, near Hodnet, old house of 

fifteenth century, 244 
Council in the Marches of Wales, 

by Miss Skeel, cited, 161 
Council of Aries in 314, 65 
of the Marches, History of, 

20, 21, 23, 31, 143-161 
special work of, 144, 

146-149, 152, 156, 159, 160, 

abuses of, 150-152, 159, 

of War held in Shrewsbury, 

162, 250 

Cound, appointment of " Minis- 
ter " of, 106-108 
Hall, a seventeenth century 

house, 253 

County, General History of the, 1-24 
Families, and Basil Wood's 

list of the, 205, 206 
Houses, and Basil Wood's 

list of the, 205 
Court of Hill, seventeenth century 

house, 253 

Court of the Marches, see Council 

of the Marches 
Coventry and Lichfield, Bishop of, 

146-148, 157 
Cranage, a young soldier who fired 

a bomb at Oswestry, 181, 

Craven Arms, 59 

Lord, of Stokesay, 162, 250 

Creighton, Bishop, quoted, 23, 24 
Crenellating of Stokesay and other 

castles by royal license, 30, 


Cressage, 63, 66 
Christianity found very early 

at, 210 
Cressett, Edward, of Upton 

Cressett, Royalist leader, 169 
presentation of James, 106- 

Crewe, Lord Chief Justice, an old 

pupil of Shrewsbury School, 


Croeswylan, 62 
Cromwell, Oliver, visits to 

Shropshire, 191 

Thomas, r46, 147 

Cross built into Wroxeter Church, 

one of the oldest Christian 

monuments remaining in 

Shropshire, 236 
Crowe, Capt,, Commandant of 

Shrewsbury Castle, hanged 

for treachery or cowardice, 

1 88 
Crusades, The, in Shropshire, 82- 


Cuckoo's Cup on Wrekin, 134 
Cudworth, headmaster of Market 

Drayton Grammar School, 

226, 227 
Cupboards, secret, built in old 

country houses, 248 
Cureton, William, the Orientalist, 

a pupil of Newport Gram- 
mar School, 231 
Curthose, Robert, 15, 82 
Customs curiously divided in 

Shropshire, 63, 141 
old, of the county, 120-142 

Danes defeated at Buttington, n 
Danesford, a Danish encampment 

on the Severn, n 
Danish invasion, 10-12 
left no impress on the 

county, 12 



Darwin, Charles, pupil of Shrews- 
bury School, 226 

Davenport, eighteenth century 
house, 254 

David ap Gruffydd, 18 

sent in chains to Shrews- 
bury and there executed, 
18, 28 

ap Owen, 51 

Dawley, 59, 60, 191 

De Pitchfords, the, 45 

Dee, Bishop, of Peterborough, a 
pupil of Shrewsbury School, 

Deer, Red, in Shropshire, 195 

Forests at Clun and Hock- 
stow, 195 

Parks in Shropshire, 204 

Demetus on the merits of the 
Court of Marches, 152 

" Demosthenes " Taylor, pupil 
of Shrewsbury School, 225 

Denbigh, Earl of, appointed Par- 
liamentary Commander, 
170, 181 

Derby, Charles I. passes through, 

Earls of, 52 

Despoiling of churches at the 
Reformation in Salop, 249 

Devil's Chair, the, on Stiper- 
stones, 126 

Dialect curiously divided in the 
county, 141 

Diddlebury Church, Saxon work, 

2 37 

Dingley (or Dinely), Thomas, 
writer of Beaufort Pro- 
gress, 157 

Dioceses of Lichfield, St. Asaph, 
and Hereford, ancient 
boundaries of, 141 

Directory of Shropshire, Kelly's, 
cited, 206 

Domesday Book cited, 14, 26, 238 

Domesday Book of 1873 cited, 

Dominican Friars in Shropshire, 

Donington Grammar School, 
short history of, 229, 230 

Wood, 78 

Donne, Dr., headmaster of Oswes- 
try Grammar School, 218 

Douglas, John, Bishop of Salis- 
bury, a pupil of Donington, 

Dovaston, J. F. M., poet, 263, 264 

Dovey, Richard, endowed the 
national school at Claver- 
ley, 232 

Downes, Andrew, Greek Pro- 
fessor, pupil of Shrewsbury 
School, 224 

Dragoons, regiment of, raised 
during Civil War in the 
county, 167 

Drakes (? mitrailleuses) used in 
the siege of Shrewsbury, 171 

Draper, Thomas, founder of New- 
port Grammar School, 230 

Drayton's Polyolbion quoted, 142 

Duchess of Shrewsbury, 46 

Dugdale's Monasticon cited, 196 

Duke of Beaufort, 156, 157 

Dunstanvills, the De, 44 

Dunvall, half-timbered sixteenth 
century house at, 247 

Dutch style of eighteenth cen- 
tury, the formal, 253 

Dyer's Fleece quoted, 131 

Eata, the early British mis- 
sionary, 67 
Ecclesiastics, distinguished, of 

Shropshire, 265-267 
Eccleston, Henry, steward of 

Earl of Bridgwater, at Lud- 

low, 155 
Edgmond church tower built, 

fifteenth century, 246 

ghost laid at, 124 

Edric Sylvaticus (The Wild), 13, 

37, 128, 131 
Education, King Alfred's law as 

to, 211 
elementary, cared for in 

endowed village schools, 

232, 233 
of children left entirely to the 

Church in early times, 211 
Edward I., 18, 28, 47', 52, 55, 62, 

76, 85 

II., 47, 57, 62 

III., 52, 82 

IV., 20, 56, 144 

V., 20, 144, 145 

VI., 100, 102, 143, 213, 215, 


the Confessor, 12, 13, 50, 57 

Edwards, Sir Clement, pupil of 

Shrewsbury School, 225 
Eighteenth Century, an era of 

church building, 254 



Elizabeth, Queen, 58, 101, 150, 

Elizabethan farmhouses scattered 
over the county, 248 

Ellesmere, its history and anti- 
quities, 51-53 

first incorporated in Shrop- 
shire in 1537, 202 

Castle, held during the 

Anarchy for Matilda, 16 

Church, fifteenth century 

work in, 246 

Lake, Legend concerning, 129 

Night attack on Royalist 

convoy at, 174, 175 

Royalist troops assembled at 

during Civil War, 172 

Ellis, Colonel, captures Apley 
Castle, 178-180 

Elsich, sixteenth century house, 

Endowed Village Schools for 
elementary education in the 
county, 232, 233 

England Displayed cited, 50 

England Illustrated cited, 35, 37, 
39, 41, 44, 48, 49, 51, 54, 

56, 57. 58 
Engravers of Shropshire, 258, 

2 59 

Ensdon House utilized in the Civil 
War as a block house, 169 

Episcopacy, abolition of, 105 

Ercall Hill, legend how it was 
first formed, 125 

Essex, Earl of, appointed Captain- 
General of the Forces by 
the Pailiament, 16, 41 

Estates changed hands owing to 
the Civil War, 194 

value of, compounded for 

after the Civil War, 194 

Ethelfleda, King Alfred's daughter, 
Lady of the Mercians, 12 

Ethelfrith of Northumbria slays 
in battle many Welsh monks 
from Bangor Iscoed, 8 

Ethelred visits Shropshire, i 

Ethered pursues the Danes to 
Buttington and there 
defeats them, n, 12 

Eure, Dame Mary, monument to, 
in Ludlow Church, 158 

Evans, David, second master of 
Shrewsbury School, enter- 
tains some of the Court, 
164, 223 

Evans, John, headmaster of Oswes- 
try Grammar School, 219 

Eyton-on-Severn, country resi- 
dence of the Abbot of 
Shrewsbury, 273, 274 

birthplace of Lord Herbert of 

Chirbury, 274 

Eyton-on-the- wild-moors, church 
rebuilt in eighteenth cen- 
tury, 255 

Eyton's Antiquities of Shrop- 
shire quoted, 68, 80, 81, 
84, 200 

list of castles and castellated 

mansions, 196 

Fairfax, Sir William, Parliamen- 
tary leader, 176 

Fairs granted, 33, 34, 36, 38, 39, 
4. 4i, 43. 44, 46, 47. 49- 
53> 55, 57-63 

Falstaff at the battle of Shrews- 
bury, 19 ; Oldcastle com- 
pared to, 97 

Families, list of county, in 
Shropshire, 205, 206 

changes in old Shropshire, 


Family, frequent changes in suc- 
cession in the English 
Royal, 200 

Farmer, James, of Cound, 
Quaker, 113, 114 

Feasts and merrymakings, fondness 
of Salopians for, 141, 142 

Felton Heath, pursuit of Royalist 
forces to, 182 

Fenwicke, Colonel, appointed 
Governor of Moreton Cor- 
bet Castle, 184 

Fethanleag, battle of, 7 

Feudal Baronage of Shropshire, 
147, 148 

Feudalism, origin and significance 
of, 200, 201 

final overthrow of, 19 

Fifteenth century work in 
churches, 243, 244 

in wood, 245 

Fisher, Rev. Samuel, 163 

Fisher's Annals of Shrewsbury 
School quoted, 188, 224 

Fitz Aer family, home of, now 
incorporated in farm build- 
ings, 242 

Fitzalan, William, Lord of Oswes- 
try and Clun, 36, 38, 76 



Fitzalans, strange fatality among 

the, 200 
Fitz church, a brick eighteenth 

century edifice, 254 
Fitz Manor, 254 
FitzOsbern, William, 13, 48 
FitzScrob, Richard, 12 
Fletcher, Rev. John, Vicar of 

Madeley, 115, 117-119, 255, 


Florence of Worcester cited, 31 
Folklore of the county, legends 

and old customs, 120-142 
often general rather than 

local, 121, 122, 125 
Folkmoots, establishment of, in 

every direction, 9 
Ford church, fifteenth century 

timbered roof, 245 
fifteenth century screen, 


House, eighteenth century 

house, 254 

Fourteenth century work in 
churches, 243, 244 ; imi- 
tated in seventeenth cen- 
tury, 251 

Fowler, Richard, of Harnage, 
captured at Hinton, 186 

Fox's Acts and Monuments cited, 
96, roi 

Fox, George, founder of 
Quakerism, 112, 113 

Mr. Secretary, 160. 

Foy, Mr., curate of Edgmond, 
lays a ghost, 124 

Franchise of Cleobury, the, 49 

Franciscan Friars in Shropshire, 

Frankwell, 64 

fort at, r86, r88 

Free Grammar Schools, right 
meaning of the word 
" free," 213 

Library at Shrewsbury, for- 
merly the old Grammar 
School, 251 

School at Ludlow, 154 

Friars, the coming of the, and 
their work in Shropshire, 

Eremites, 90 

Friends, The Society of, in 
Shropshire, 111-114 

Fuller's Worthies quoted, 101, 268 

Fusion of Norman and Saxon 
elements, 15 

Gaelic racial type, 3 

Gauntlett, Henry John, composer 
and organist, 259 

Gay Meadow, the, at Shrews- 
bury, Royal troops muster- 
ed in, 166 

Gerard, William, description of 
his colleagues, 150 

Ghosts, how they were laid, 122, 123 

Giants' Chairs, 126, 135 

legends concerning, 125-127, 


Gilbert, Thomas, rector of Edg- 
mond, benefactor of New- 
port Grammar School, 231 
Gild, Palmers', the, founds a 
Grammar School at Lud- 
low, 214, 215 

Merchant, 28, 33, 47 

Gildas quoted, 210 

Gilds, the origin and significance 

of, 201 
Geraldus Cambrensis cited, 27, 

74. 83 
Glynne, Mrs., a friend of Wesley, 


Goldegay, Sir William, Parliamen- 
tary officer, 1 80 
Golden Arrow, the, of Pontes- 

ford, 133 

Galford's Tower, Ludlow, 160 
Gomme's Ethnology and Folk- 
lore cited, 132 

Cough's History of Myddle 
quoted, 169, 175, 188, 193, 
230, 233, 251 
Grammar Schools of Shropshire, 

existing and extinct 
Battlefield, 212 
Bridgnorth, 212, 213, 214, 


Donington, 214, 229, 230 
Halesowen, 214, 232 
High Ercall, 2r4, 232 
Ludlow, 212, 214, 215 
Madeley, 212 

Market Drayton, 214, 226-228 
Newport, 214, 230-232 
Oswestry, 212, 214, 217-219 
Shifnal, 214, 223 
Shrewsbury, 213, 214, 223-226 
Tong, 212-214 

Wellington, 213, 214, 219, 220 
Wem, 214, 229 
Whitchurch, 2r4, 220 
Whittington, 214, 232 
Worfield, 214, 228, 229 



Grammar School, Shrewsbury, 
the old, now the Free 
Library, 251 

Schools, largely founded by 

men who had left the 
county, 213 

English, probably over 

300 in number at the time 
of the Reformation, 212 

receive royal grants, 213 

Grand Jury and Clergy sign 
Declaration to King 
Charles I., 163 

Grandmont, Order of, 81, 196 

Graves, Richard, founds an Exhi- 
bition at Ludlow Grammar 
School, 215 

Gray quoted, 100 

Great Bolas, Church of 
eighteenth century, 255 

Great Ness, has seventeenth cen- 
tury altar rails, 252 

Greet Court, early seventeenth 
century, 250 

Greville, Fulk, 148 

Grey Friars in Shropshire, 89, 90 

Griffith ap Rees publicly whip- 
ped at Ludlow, 1 60 

Sir Piers, pupil of Shrews- 
bury School, 225 

Grove, John, endows village 
school at Alveley, 232 

Growth of the Towns, 16 

Guisers or Mummers, 139, 140 

Habberley Hall, early seventeenth 
century, 250 

Haberdashers Company of Lon- 
don appoint Governors of 
Newport Grammar School, 

Halesowen Abbey, 81 

Grammar School, 232 

Hallowe'en celebrations, 140, 141 

Halston Chapel, an example of 
black and white ecclesi- 
astical architecture, 208, 

, establishment of Templars 

at, 86, 87 

, house of Knights of St. John 

at, 196 

, once the house of Jack 

Mytton, 250 

Hancock, Walter, architect, 
designs Condover Hall, 
2?3 2 74 

Hanmer, John, Bishop of St. 

Asaph, 267 
Hardwick, an eighteenth century 

house, 254 
Harley, Lady Brilliana, gallant 

defence of Brampton Brian 

Castle, 1 80 
Hartland's Science of Fairy 

Tales quoted, 137, 13-8 
Hartshorn, C. H., the antiquary, 

a pupil of Shrewsbury 

School, 226 
Hastings (or Senlac), battle of, 


Hatton Grange, near Shifnal, 
eighteenth century house, 

Haughmond Abbey, 62, 68, 76- 

78, 191, 192, 196, 232, 238, 

248, 249, 274 
Hayward, Sir Rowland, pupil 

of Bridgnorth Grammar 

School, 216 
Healing Wells, 131 
Heathenism and Christianity, 

conflict of, at Maserfield, 

Heber, Bishop, once rector of 

Hodnet, 263 
Henley, near Ludlow, eighteenth 

century house, 254 
Henry I., 15, 16, 27, 47, 51, 78, 


II., 17, 27, 47, 49, 51, 97 

III., 17, 18, 47, 50, 52, 55, 

59, 6r, 62, 74 

IV., rg, 28, 29, 85 

V., 97 

VII., 20, 100, 144, 244 

VIII., 56, roo 

Earl of Richmond, visits 

Shrewsbury on his way to 

Bosworth Field, 20 
the house he stayed at 

remains, a good example of 

fifteenth century work, 244 

Philip, Diary quoted, 183 n. 

Herald's Visitation of Shropshire 

cited, 107, 272 

Herbert, Humphrey, school- 
master, of Ludlow, 154 

George, the poet, 274 

Lord, of Chirbury, 162, 207, 


cited, 274 
Hermits in Shropshire, 68 



Heylin, John, has to sell the 

Alderton estate after the 

Civil War, 194, 248 
Rowland, pupil of Shrewsbury 

School, 225 
Hiding-places in sixteenth century 

houses, 248 
High Ercall, 62, 189, 190, 191 

Church, 250, 252 

Hill, Richard, the diplomatist, 

pupil of Shrewsbury School, 

Rowland, Lord Mayor of 

London, founder of Market 

Drayton Grammar School, 

226, 271 
(afterwards Lord Hill), 

of Hawkestone, 271 
Sir Richard, of Hawkestone, 


Hill Wakes, 133 
Hinton, capture of the King's 

Commission at, 186 
History, General, of the county, 

Celtic and Saxon periods, 


Norman period, 12-17 
Plantagenet period, 17-20 
Tudor period, 20, 21 
Stuart and Hanoverian 

periods, 21-23 
History of Music, written by Dr. 

Charles Burney, 259 
Hockstow Deer Forest, 195 
Hodnet, 61, 208, 263 
Castle, existence of, revealed 

by modern research, 196 
Holbeche, David, founder of 

Oswestry Grammar School, 


Holinshed cited, 269 
Hopton Castle, 176, 177 

Heath, battle of, 168 
Hotspur, slain at the battle of 

Shrewsbury, 19 

Hours of school attendance in 
former days, 218, 221, 227, 

2 3 r 
House of Lords, how constituted 

and how summoned in early 

times, 20 1 
Houses, Basil Wood's list of 

country, 205 

black and white, half-tim- 
bered, found all over the 

county, 208 

Howard, Sir Richard, Royalist 
leader, 193 

How, William Walsham, Bishop 
of Wakefield, 265 

Howell, Abraham, schoolmaster of 
Ashford, 233 

Hughley Church, fourteenth cen- 
tury, 244 

fifteenth century screen, 


Hulbert's Manual of Shropshire 
TBiography cited, 271 

Human remains found, in 1839, 
at Buttington, the scene of 
an early battle, n 

Humphreston, estate of, changed 
hands owing to the Civil 
War, 194 

traces of house of Saxon 

franklin at, 236 

Humphreys, Humphrey, Bishop 
of Bangor, pupil of Oswes- 
try Grammar School, 218 

Hundreds, Shropshire divided at 
Domesday into, 14, 15 

revised by Henry I., 


Hunkes, Sir Fulke, Royalist 
leader, 182 

Hunt, Colonel Thomas, of 
Shrewsbury, a Parliamen- 
tarian leader, 162, 163, 167, 
168, 171, 187, 188, 190 

a pupil of Shrewsbury School, 


Huson, a minister, assists at the 
capture of Shrewsbury, 187 

Iberian racial types, marks of 
the, 3 

Idsal House school, Shifnal, 228 

Idsall, see Shifnal 

Illustrious Salopians, 257-274 

pupils of Shrewsbury School, 


Income of Shropshire landowners 
formerly and now, 203, 204 

religious houses, 197 

Indifference, Salopian, to religious 
change, 102, 106, 108 

Informator Rusticus quoted, 175 

Inscription on Ludlow Castle, 150 

Invasions of Shropshire, succes- 
sive, 2-14 

Ippikin, a legend concerning 
Wenlock Edge, 127 

Ironbridge, 59 



Iron industry, the, in Shropshire, 

54, 59 
rails first made in Shropshire, 

Isle, the, shows the sequence of 

building often followed, 253 
Ivanhoe referred to, 86 
Ive, Roger, builds Battlefield 

church, 245 

Jacobean design of Moreton 

Corbet Hall, 208 

pulpits, 252 

James I. on "dangerous 

novelties," 153 
II. dismantled Shrewsbury 

Castle, 29 
took away the town charter 

of Shrewsbury, 23 

visits Shrewsbury, 23 

Jeffreys, Judge, arbitrary mea- 
sures of, 22 
a pupil of Shrewsbury 

School, 23, 225 
tries Richard Baxter, 


John Inglesant referred to, 174 
John, King, 17, 27, 36, 52, 53 
grants a charter to 

Shrewsbury, 15, 23, 27 
Johnes, Thomas, translator of 

Froissart, pupil of Shrews- 
bury School, 225 
Jones, Alexander Fletcher, the 

first exhibitioner from 

Oswestry to the University, 

Colonel, R.E., V.C., pupil 

of Oswestry Grammar 

School, 219 
Thomas, Senior Wrangler, a 

pupil of Shrewsbury School, 


Katharine of Aragon, 2r, 100 
Kelly's Directory of Shropshire 

cited, 206 
Kennedy, Dr. B. H., headmaster 

of Shrewsbury School, 224, 


his words quoted, 218 

Kenwealh, King of Wessex, 

battle of Pontesbury under, 


Kenyon, first Baron, Chief Jus- 
tice, 272 

Kilsall, legend concerning, 129 

Kingsland, Shrewsbury, in olden 

times, 139 
the finest site for a school in 

England, 224 
Kinlet church, chancel and 

transepts of fourteenth 

century, 244 
Hall, eighteenth century 

house, 254 

Kirke, Sir Lewis, captures Hop- 
ton Castle, 177 
Governor of Ludlow, 

Knights Hospitallers, 85 

of St. John, house of, 196 

Templars, 86, 87 
Knockin, 62 
Heath, legend concerning, 

I2 7 
military rendezvous at, 


Royalist victory at, 189 

Kynaston Family, the, 52 

Wild Humphrey, 127 

legendary leap of, 


Lacy, Roger de, probably built 
Ludlow Castle, 29 

" Lady of the Mercians," the, 
Ethelfleda, erected for- 
tresses at Bridgnorth and 
Chirbury, 12, 236 

Godiva, 72 

Land in Shropshire, changes in 
ownership of, 195-209 

Langford, Charles, founds exhibi- 
tions at Ludlow Grammar 
School, 218 

Langland, William, poet, prob- 
ably a Salopian, 91-93, 260 

Langley Chapel, early seventeenth 
century, 252 

Lansdowne MSS. quoted, 141 

Latham, Edward, captured at the 
siege of Bridgnorth, 193 

Latimer, Thomas, a Lollard, 96 

Laud, Archbishop, 105 

Laurence de Ludlow, 30, 240 

buys Stokesay, 30 

obtains royal license to 

crenellate it, 30, 240 

Thomas, headmaster of 

Shrewsbury School, 221, 

222, 224 

Lawyers of Shropshire, dis- 
tinguished, 272, 273 



Laying Ghosts, the process of, 

122, 123 

Lea, Danes abandon their ships 

on the river, n 
Lea Hall abandoned by the 

Royalists, 189 
Leach's English Schools at the 

Reformation quoted, 212, 

Lead Mines worked by the 

Romans at Stiperstones, 5 
Leaders of the Parliamentary 

party in Shropshire, 207 
Leasowes, The, the house of 

Shenstone, the poet, 81 
Leebotwood, 62 

Lee Bridge, engagement at, 173 
Rowland, Bishop of Coventry 

and Lichfield, 21, 146-148, 

157, 266, 272 
Sir Richard, of Langley, 

Royalist leader, 169 
Leeke, Thomas, Baron of the 

Exchequer, founded High 

Ercall School, 232 
Legend as to the capture of 

Uriconium, 7 

Legends of the county, 120-142 
Leighton Hall, near Ironbridge, 

eighteenth century, 254 
Church, eighteenth century, 

2 S4 
Sir Wm., Judge, remodelled 

Plash Hall in 1607, 250, 272 
Leintwardine, a stage on the 

southward royal journey 

from Shrewsbury, 26 
Leland's Itinerary cited, 31, 34, 

37. 39. 4i, 43. 46, 48, 49. 

5 1 . 53. 54. 5 6 . 57. 5 8 > 202 > 

203, 218 
list of Shropshire landowners 

in his day, 202 
Le Strange family, the, 52 
Levere, Robert, a merry host of 

Newport, 47 
Leveson, Sir Richard, Royalist 

officer, 179 

Lewis, Edward, builds and en- 
dows village school at Chir- 

bury, 233 
Licenses to crenellate issued, 30, 

Lichfield Close, siege of, 168 

; St. Chad first Bishop of, 66 

Lilleshall Abbey, 28, 78-80, 178- 

180, 191, 196, 238 

Lindisfarne, 66, 67 

Lingen, Baron, a pupil of Bridg- 

north Grammar School, 216 
Lister, Lady, gallant defence of 

Rowton Castle by, 188 
Sir Thomas, of Rowton, a 

prominent Royalist, 166 
Lives lost in Shropshire through 

the Civil War, 193 
Llanymynech, copper mines 

worked by the Romans at, 

Llewelyn the Great, 17, 52, 81 

ap Gruff ydd, 18 

Lloyd, Andrew, 174, 187, 188, 

Colonel, of Llanforda, ban 

vivant, 175 

Richard, of Welshpool, 147 

Llynclys, legend concerning, 129 
Local life and feeling always 

strong in Shropshire, 23 
Lodge, Sir Oliver, a pupil of 

Newport School, 231 
The, an eighteenth century 

house, 254 

Lollards in Shropshire, the, 95-98 
Longden, 61 

Long Mountain, British earth- 
works on, 8 
Longdon-on-Tern, church rebuilt 

in eighteenth century, 255 
Longford reduced by the 

Royalists, 180 
Longnor Hall, Church, Park, and 

Mill, 241, 253 
Loppington Church, fortified and 

defended, 172 
Lord Mayors of London, many 

Salopian, 271 
Lords, House of, how constituted, 

and how summoned in early 

times, 20 1 
Loton, seventeenth century house, 

Ludford Bridge, the rout of, 

Ludlow, its social season in the 

eighteenth century, 23 
and the Council of the 

Marches, 143-161 

captured by Earl of Essex, 165 

Carmelites and Austin Friars 

at, 90 

defence of in Civil War, 169 

Grammar School, short his- 
tory of, 214, 215 



Ludlow had two representatives in 
Parliament, 201 

its history, trade, and develop- 
ment, 29-31 

mentioned in Domesday^ 26 

Museum, 158 

rope-pulling contest at, 64, 


stately ceremonial at, 153 

the chief seat of the Morti- 
mer power, 144 

tourist's letter of eighteenth 

century, describing, 23 

town gaol, 1 60 

visited by Charles I., 191 

Ludlow Advertiser quoted, 157 

Ludlow Castle, 16, 29 

Arthur, Prince of Wales, 

holds Court at, 21 

besieged, 189, 193 

last of the King's garri- 
sons in Shropshire, 193 
-unsuccessful attack on, 


-Church, mainly of the four- 
teenth century, 243 

-tower built fifteenth 

century, 246 

Ludstone Hall, seventeenth cen- 
tury building, 208, 250 

Lutwyche Hall, old brick sixteenth 
century mansion, 247 

Sir Edward, Judge, 272 

Lydbury Castle, see Bishop's 

North, old village school at, 

2 33 

has sixteenth century 

screen, 245 
Lydley Heys, establishment of 

the Templars at, 86, 196 
Lyon, Captain, killed, 178 
Lythwood Hall, near Shrewsbury, 

eighteenth century house, 


Mabel de Belesme, first wife of 

Roger de Montgomery, 14 
Mackworth, Colonel Humphrey, 

Parliamentary leader, 167, 

171, 190, 193 
a pupil of Shrewsbury 

School, 225 
Madeley, 59, 60, 117, 255 

Church, rebuilt in 1796, 255 

Court, fine example of old 

house, 208, 247, 272 


Madeley House, abandoned by the 

Royalists, 189 
Maesbury, 35, 238 
Magna Charta, 17 
Malins Lee, ruined Norman 

Chapel at, 238 
Manor houses built in thirteenth 

century instead of fortified 

castles, 239 
destroyed in the Civil 

War, 193 
McMichael, William, pupil of 

Bridgnorth Grammar 

School, 216 
Manors existing at the Conquest 

named in Domesday 

Survey, 14 
Map of Basil Wood of 1715 cited, 

C. Saxton, showing list of 

Elizabethan parks, cited, 

Samuel Brown, of 1751, 

cited, 204 
Marbury, William, headmaster of 

Oswestry School, 218 
Market Hall, Shrewsbury, statue 

of Duke of York, 20 
old, finished in 

1596, 247 
Drayton, its history and 

antiquities, 56, 57, 176 
Church, improved in 

1796, 255, 256 
Grammar School, short 

history of, 224-226 
Markets granted, 40, 41, 43, 44, 

46, 47, 49-55, 57-63 

for time of plague, 62 

Marquis of Halifax, " the great 

trimmer," pupil of Shrews- 
bury School, 225 
Marrington Hall, example of half- 
timbered sixteenth century 

work, 247 
Marrow, Colonel, Royalist leader, 

Major, Parliamentary officer, 

killed at the storming of 

Wem, 173 
Marches, history of the Council 

of the, 143-161 
Marsh, near Westbury, example of 

black and white house, 208 
Marsley Park, scene of the Royal 

hunt, 26, 29 
Marston Moor, battle of, 182 



Mary Tudor at Ludlow, 145, 146 

at Shrewsbury, 257 

Maserfield, near Oswestry, Oswald 
defeated and slain at, 8 

Masons, bands of, in the four- 
teenth century, 244 

Matilda's cause during the 
Anarchy espoused by most 
Shropshire nobles, 16 

Matthew Paris quoted, 74, 75 

Matthews, G. B., Senior 
Wrangler, pupil of Ludlow 
Grammar School, 215 

Maurice, Prince, appointed 
Royalist Commander-in- 
Chief in Shropshire, 185, 
1 86 

Meighen, John, headmaster of 
Shrewsbury School, 222, 

Melverley Church, half-timbered 
structure of fifteenth cen- 
tury, 208', 245 

Mennes, Sir John, Royalist 
leader, 169 

Merchant Gilds, 28, 33, 47 

Mercia, Rise of the kingdom of, 

Meres, legends concerning 
Shropshire, 129-131 

Mermaid, the, of Aqualate Mere, 

Childs Ercall, 130 

Methodism in Shropshire, in, 

Middleton, Sir Thomas, of Chirk, 
appointed Parliamentary 
Commander, 170-173, 182, 

Milburga founds Wenlock Abbey, 

Military Orders, the, in Shrop- 
shire, 85-87 

"Milton cited, 131, 132 

Mining on the Stiperstones, 195 

Minsterley, quaint seventeenth 
century church at, 253 

Mint, the old, in Shrewsbury, 243 

Mitchell's Fold, 126 

Mitrailleuses (" drakes ") used in 
the siege of Shrewsbury, 

Moat Hall, example of small 
manor house, 248 

Moated residences, 195, 239-242 

Monastic houses, increase of, dur- 
ing the Anarchy, 16 

Monasticism in Shropshire, 68-87 
Monasticon, The, of Dugdale, 

cited, 196 

Monkbridge, a boundary, 202 
Montague, John, a Shropshire 

Lollard, 96 
Montford Bridge, the passage of 

the Severn forced at, 182 

Church, rebuilt in 1736, 255 

Montgomery, rout of Royalist 

forces at, 183 
More, Samuel, of Linley, gallant 

defence of Hopton, 176, 177 
a pupil of Shrewsbury 

School, 225 
Moreton Corbet, 51, 175, 208, 

Castle captured by the 

Parliament, 183, 184 
dismantled by the 

Parliament, 189 
Say Church cased with brick 

in eighteenth century, 255 
Morris-dancers, 139, 140 
Mortality through the Civil War, 

Mortimer family, the, 14, 17, 48, 

49 2 43 
Hugh de, holds three castles 

besieged by Henry II., 17 
Ralph de, owns manors in 

Shropshire, 14 

Roger de, 243 

Mortimer's Cross, battle of, 20 
Morville Priory, 70 
Mothering Sunday, 140 
Moultrie, John, poet, 264 
Much Wenlock, see Wenlock 
Mummers, the (or Guisers), 139 
Municipal life of Shrewsbury, 26- 


Government, growth of, 201 

Museum at Shrewsbury, early 

remains in the, 2 
Musicians of Shropshire, 259 
Myddle, mortality of soldiers 

from, during Civil War, 193 
History of, by Gough, 

quoted, 169, 175 

old castle at, 243 

old village school at, 233 

Myrk, John, Canon of Lilleshall, 

poetry of, quoted, 79, 260 
Mytton, Jack, of Halston, 253 
Thomas, of Halston, Parlia- 
mentary leader, 170-188, 




Namby-Pamby, nickname of the 

Shropshire poet, Ambrose 

Phillips, 262 
Nantwich, unsuccessful Royalist 

attack on, 168, 172 
Nash Church, fourteenth century 

work, 243 
Needham, Captain, killed at the 

capture of Shrewsbury, 188 
Needle's Eye on the Wrekin, 134 
Neen Sollars Church, fourteenth 

century work, 243 
Nesscliff, legend concerning, 127 
Netley Hall, built in 1857, 256 
Neutral soldiers during the Civil 

War, 185 
Nevett, Rowland, of Oswestry, 


Newborough, see Ntwport 
New Learning, The, 99 
Newport, history and antiquities 

of, 47, 48, 62, 190 
Grammar School and short 

history of, 230-232 
Sir Francis, of High Ercall, 

a great builder, 273, 274 
Sir Richard (afterwards Lord 

Newport), of High Ercall, 

163, 166, 270 
unsuccessful attempt to 

capture his manor house, 


the Mermaid of, 130 

Newsletters, mostly in the interest 

of Parliament during the 

Civil War, 167, 175, 178 
Newton, Sir C. T., the antiquary, 

a pupil of Shrewsbury 

School, 226 
Nicholas de Denton, a Shropshire 

hermit, 68 
Nichols, Thomas, of Shrewsbury, 

accused of treason, 167 
Nicostrata Carmenta, school-book 

used in early times, 211 
Nonconformist chapels in 

eighteenth century, gene- 
rally of very simple archi- 
tecture, 255 
Norfolk, Duke of, buys the Castle 

of Clun, 202 
Norman architecture, traces of, 


invasion, effect of, i 

period, history of the, 12- 


Venator, 45 

Normans, manors named in 

Domesday Book mostly held 

by, 14 
Northampton, Earl of, Royalist 

Commander, killed, 168 
Norton, near Condover, Henry I. 

signed two documents at, 15 
Bonham, a benefactor to 

Church Stretton, 41 
Camp, legend concerning, 


Mrs. Jane, built west end of 

Church Stretton church, 252 

near Stokesay, battle of, 190 

William, founds elementary 

school at Onibury, 232 
Nottingham, Charles I. raises his 

standard at, 163 

Oakengates, 59, 60 

Odelerius, chaplain of Roger de 

Montgomery, 70, 71 
Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, appointed 

Regent by William I., 13 
Offa builds the great dyke known 

by his name, 10 
reigns over Mercia from 757 

to 796, 10 
wrests Pengwern from the 

Welsh, 10 
Oldbury, castle built by Ethel- 

fleda at, 31, 236 
Oldcastle, Sir John, the Lollard 

(Lord Cobham), 96-98 
" Olde House," the, on Dogpole 

where Mary Tudor stayed, 

Old, rarity of things really, 208, 

Old Shropshire families, changes 

in, 195-209 
Onibury, endowed elementary 

school at, 232 
Onslow family, distinguished in 

Shropshire, 272 

Hall, built about 1820, 256 

Ordericus Vitalis educated at 

Shrewsbury, 211 

quoted, 32, 50, 67, 211 

Orders, the monastic, in Shrop- 
shire, 68-87 

Ordovices, British tribe of, 3 
Orleton, near Wellington, 247 
Ostorius Scapula, victorious over 

Caractacus, 4 
Oswald, King of Northumbria, 

slain at Maserfield, 8, 66 



Oswestry, history, trade, and 
antiquities of, 35-37 

captured for the Parliament, 

180, 181 

defeat of Oswald by Penda's 

men, 8 

defence of, during the Civil 

War, 170, 181, 182 

first incorporated in Shrop- 
shire in 1537, 202 

: hill country behind, mostly 

inhabited by Welsh, 10 

: incident of crusading times 

at, 84 

: the name derived from 

Oswald's tree, 8 

: unsuccessful stratagem at, 


Grammar School, short his- 
tory of, 217-219 


pupils of, 218, 219 

the first public 

school in Shropshire uncon- 
nected with a religious 
house, 212 

Oteley, the White Lady of, 129 

Ottley, Sir Francis, of Pitchford, 
a prominent Royalist leader, 
21, 163, 167, 169, 175, 186, 
193, 270 

a pupil of Shrewsbury 

School, 225 

Owen, George, of Henllys, 152 

Archdeacon Hugh, joint 

author of the History of 
Shrewsbury, 258 

Glyndwr in rebellion, 19 

Goronwy, the Welsh poet, a 

pupil of Donington Gram- 
mar School, 230 

Leighton, 174 

Rev. E. Price, 258 

Roger, 1 86 

Sir Roger, antiquary, 273 

Sir William, of Condover, 

174, 187 

Thomas, Judge, who built 

Condover Hall, 272, 273 

William, R.A., pupil of Lud- 

low Grammar School, 215, 

Owen and Blakeway's History of 
Shrewsbury cited, 95, 97, 

Owen's Mansion, Shrewsbury, 
built sixteenth century, 247 

Owens, the, of Condover, 
waverers in the Civil War, 

Ownership of land in Shropshire, 
changes in the, 195, 209 

Pageant, Annual, at Shrewsbury, 

Pageants of Shrewsbury School, 


Painters of Shropshire, 257-258 
Palmers' Gild found a Grammar 

School at Ludlow, 214 
Palsgrave in John Inglesant in- 
tended to represent Prince 

Rupert, 174 

Pantulf, the family of, 50, 56 
Papal supremacy overthrown, 100 
Pardoners, evil influences of the, 

Park Hall, Oswestry, example of 

black and white timbered 

architecture, 208, 247 
Chapel, example of black and 

white ecclesiastical building, 

Parks in Shropshire in Elizabeth's 

reign and since, 204, 205 
Parliament, famous, held by 

Edward I. at Shrewsbury 

in 1283, 18, 28 
adjourned to Acton Burnell, 

18, 238 
representation of Shropshire 

in, 201 
Parliamentary Committee of 

Twenty appointed for 

Shropshire, 170, 178 
list of successes of, 190 

party in Shropshire, leaders 

of the, 207 
Paulet, Lord, taken prisoner at 

Bridgnorth, 166 
Payne, Edward, headmaster of 

Oswestry Grammar School, 


Peasants' revolt of 1381, the, 94 
Peerage, modern of Shropshire, 

197, 198 
Peers, House of, how constituted, 

and how summoned in 

early times, 201 
Pembridge, Elizabeth, builds 

Tong Church in the 

fifteenth century, 245 
Fulke, of Tong, 243 


2 93 

Pembroke, Earl of, 151, 152 
Penda defeats and slays Oswald 
at Maserfield, 8 

champion of heathenism, 9 

Pengwern, the earliest name of 
British Shrewsbury, 7, 10 

a flourishing centre of Celtic 

power, 8 

Penry, John, Puritan, author of 
the Martin Mar-prelate 
Tracts, a pupil of Shrews- 
bury School, 204 
Percy, Bishop, author of The 
Eeliques of Ancient Poetry, 

pupil of Bridgnorth 

Grammar School, 216, 247 
Perfect Occurrences quoted, 191 
Perfect Passages quoted, 186 
Periods of Shropshire history 

1. Celtic and Saxon, 1-12 

2. Norman, 12-17 

3. Plantagenet, 17-20 

4. Tudor, 20, 21 

5. Stuart and Hanoverian, 

Perrott, Sir Richard, pupil of 

Shrewsbury School, 225 
Peter de Rupibus, founder of 

Halesowen Abbey, 81 

the Hermit, 82 

Petsey, near Hodnet, old house, 

Petton Church rebuilt in 1727, 


Peverel, William, 83 
Phillips, Ambrose, poet, pupil of 

Shrewsbury School, 225, 


Fabian, 150 

Major, gallant defence of 

Hopton, 177 
Phillips' History of Shrewsbury 

quoted, 102, 103, 114 
Picot de Say, Lord of Clun, 38 
Pictures, church, burning in 

Market Square of, 101, 102 
Pierpoint, Lady, endows cottage 

school at Tong, 232 
Pierson, Thomas, preacher, at 

Ludlow, 153 
Piers Plowman, by William 

Langland, 91-93, 260 
Pigott, Richard, headmaster of 

Shrewsbury School, 223, 

Pigott's Ghost, Madam, 124 

Pins thrown into water at wish- 
ing wells, 132, 133 

Pitchford Church, early thirteenth 
century building, 242 

- - has seventeenth century 

pulpit and pews, 262 

- Hall, an example of black 

and white timbered archi- 

tecture, 208, 242, 244 
Place Names in the county, 

absence of Danish, 12 
Plague Markets, 62 
Plantagenet period, history of, 

Plash Hall, one of the oldest 

houses in Shropshire, 207, 

Plays, Mediaeval, in Shropshire, 

- Miracle, acted by the Abbot 

of Shrewsbury's men, 138 
Plowden Hall, old house, 208, 248 

- Roger de, fell at Acre, 84 
Poets of Shropshire, 259-264 
Polyolbion (Drayton) quoted, 142 
Pontesbury, battle at, under 

Kenwealh, King of Wessex, 

- Church, has fourteenth cen- 

tury chancel, 244 
Pontesford Hill, legends concern- 

ing, 133 
Pool Hall, near Alveley, seven- 

teenth century building, 250 
Population, 28, 60, 195 
Pottery manufacture, 60 
Powell, of Oswestry, 150 
Powis, Shrewsbury the early 

capital of the Princes of, 8 
Powys, Sir Thomas, an eminent 

Judge, 272 
-- Littleton, an eminent 

Judge, 272 

- Thomas, Solicitor-General, 

pupil of Shrewsbury School, 


Precisians, the, 104 
Preece, Sergeant (alias Scrog- 

gan), 175, 176 
Preen, 73 
Frees Heath, Royalist encamp- 

ment at, 172 

Premonstratensian Order, the, 81 
Presbyterianism, 105-108 
Presbyteries, Classical, 106, 107 
Presidents of the Council of the 

Marches, 144-148 



Preston Brockhurst changed 

hands owing to the Civil 

War, 194, 251 
on - the Wild - Moors Church, 

with hospital, both early 

eighteenth century, 255 
Price, Sampson, malleus hcereti- 

corum, a pupil of Shrews- 
bury School, 225 
Sir John, captures the Royal 

Commission at Hinton, 186 
Primogeniture democratic in its 

effects, 20 1 
Prince, Richard, built Whitehall, 

Shrewsbury, in 1578, 248 
Princes, boy, smothered in 

the Tower, 20 

Priories, Grandmontensian, 196 
Prior of St. John's Hospital, 

Shrewsbury, 28 
Priors' Lodging at Wenlock, 73, 

207, 244, 245 
Priory of Wenlock founded by 

Roger de Montgomery, 14 
Private Schools early established 

in the larger towns, 212 
Prosperity of Shropshire under 

the Roman occupation, 6 
in Elizabeth's reign, 

signs of, 248 
Pulverbatch, 61, 140 
Pupils, famous, of Shrewsbury 

School, list of, 224-226 
Puritanism, 98, 103 

Quakerism in Shropshire, 111-114 

Quaker meeting house in Shrews- 
bury, 113 

Quatford, Danes at, n 

the first borough founded 

after the Conquest, 31, 32 

" Queen of Hearts," daughter of 
James I., 250 

Racial types, difference between 

earliest, 3 
Rarity of things really old, 208, 


Ratlinghope Priory, 81 
Raven's Bowl on Wrekin, 134 
Rea Valley, settlements of West 

Saxons in the, 9 
Recorders of Ludlow, 160 
Rees, Griffith ap, whipped pub- 
licly at Ludlow, 1 60 
Reformation, the English, 20, 98- 

Regents appointed during the 
Conqueror's absence, 13 

Regiment of Dragoons raised in 
the county, 167 

Reinking, Colonel, Parliamentary 
leader, 183, 186-188, 190, 

. I 9 I 

Religious Movements, mediaeval 

and post-mediaeval, 65, 119 
Houses in Shropshire, 

Stevens' list of, 195 
their changed con- 
dition to-day, 197 
Remembrances, Cromwell's, cited, 

Representation of Shropshire in 

the House of Commons, 

20 1 
Representative buildings in 

Shropshire, 236-256 
government, growth of, in 

the towns, 201 

Republicanism in England, 104 
Restoration, Shropshire at the, 22 
Reynerius, Bishop of St. Asaph, 


Rhys' Celtic Folklore cited, 141 
Richard I., 27, 43 

II., 56, 58, 60 

III., 20 

Duke of York, father of 

Edward IV., 20, 144 
Richard's Castle, 12 
Rich, Lord Chancellor, petitioned 

to found a public school in 

Shrewsbury, 220 
Road, New, over Wenlock Edge, 

made by Henry I., 15 
Roads, Roman, 5 
Roaring Bull of Bagbury, the 

Robert de Belesme, 15, 27, 50, 

5i. S3, 82 

Curthose, 15, 82 

Robin Hood's Arrow, 128 

Butts, 128 

Robson, William, benefactor of 

Newport Grammar School, 

Robyns, Richard, headmaster of 

Newport Grammar School, 

Roderick, Richard, M.A., first 

headmaster of Wem Gram- 
mar School, 229 

Roger de Clinton, founder of 
Buildwas Abbey, 74, 83 


2 95 

Roger de Montgomery, kinsman 
of the Conqueror, 13-15 

appointed Earl of 

Shrewsbury, 13 

builds Shrewsbury 

Castle, 26 

founds Shrewsbury 

Abbey, 70, 71 

is buried in Shrews- 
bury abbey, 14 

led right wing of the 

Conqueror's army at 
Hastings, 267 

Roger de Plowden, fell at the cap- 
ture of Acre, 84 

Roman city of Uriconium, 4, 5 

architecture, traces of in some 

old buildings, 237 

civilization and its effects, 5, 


mining on Stiperstones, 195 

occupation, 3-6 

Rope-pulling contest at Ludlow, 

64, 135 

Rorrington Holy Well, 133 
" Roscius, The Young," 265 
Rowton Castle, gallant defence by 

Lady Lister of, 188, 256 
Royal House in England repre- 
sented in 800 years by seven 
different families, 200 
Royal visits to Shropshire : 
Charles I., 21, 164-167, 190- 


Edward I., 18 
Ethelred, i 
Henry I., 15, 16, 27, 238 

II., 17, 27 

IV., 19 

James II., 23 
Prince Arthur, 144 
Richard II., 28 
Stephen, 16, 27 

Rupert, Prince, Royalist leader, 
21, 171, 174, 176, 180-184 
Rushbury, 61 
Church has Roman work in 

it, 237 

Ruyton XI. Towns, history and 
antiquities of, 40 

Sabrince Corolla referred to, 226 
Salopian Shreds and Patches 

quoted, 23 
Salop, name of both town and 

county, see Shrewsbury and 


Sandford, eighteenth century 
house, 254 

Saxon dispossession very com- 
plete, 14 

and Celtic periods, history 

of the, 1-12 

settlement of Shropshire, 

extent of, 9, 14, 15 

work, evidences of, in many 

churches, 237 

Saxton's list of parks in Shrop- 
shire during Elizabeth's 
reign, 204 

Saville, Sir George, " the great 
" trimmer," a pupil of 
Shrewsbury School, 225 

Schools, endowed, for village 
elementary education, 232, 

2 33 
Grammar, of Shropshire, 212- 


Shropshire, the, 210-235 

School, the Shrewsbury, see 

Shrewsbury School 
hours in former times, 218, 

221, 227, 231 
Scott, Captain Jonathan, of 

Betton, 117 
Scriven, Sir Thomas, of Frodes- 

ley, mortally wounded at 

Lee Bridge, 173 

a pupil of Shrews- 
bury School, 225 
Scromail, British leader, defeated 

by Ethelfrith at Chester, 8 
Seagrave, John de, lord of the 

manor of Stottesdon, 244 
Self-sacrifice, heroic, of a boy 

at Bridgnorth Grammar 

School, 2r6, 217 
Sequestration Committee Report 

at close of Civil War, 


Seventeenth century woodwork, 

Severn, Danes went up as far as 
Buttington, 1 1 

legends concerning the, 126 

Shakespeare, quoted, 85 

reference to the battle of 

Shrewsbury, 19 

Shavington, 253 

Shawbury, 236 

Church, tower built in 

fifteenth century, 246 

Shaw's Church under the Common- 
wealth cited, 106, 107 



Shelve, 61 

Shenstone, William, the poet, 81, 
262, 263 

pupil of Halesowen 

Grammar School, 232 

Sherar, Thomas, Clerk of the 
Court of the Marches, 247 

Sheriffhales, a provincial Uni- 
versity founded at, 243 

Shifnal, history and antiquities 

of, 44. 45 

Church, 238, 244, 250 

Grammar School, 228 

Shipman, John, founds a village 

school at Lydbury North, 

2 33 
Shipton, example of old house, 

208, 247 
Church chancel built in 1589, 

Shire, General history of the, see 

Shrawardine, 90, 252 

Castle, 63, 190, 193 

-Register cited, 190, 194 

Shrewsbury : 

A flourishing centre of Celtic 

power, 8 

Attacked by Wild Edric, 13 
Belesme's rebellion sup- 
pressed at, 15 
Besieged and captured by 

Stephen, 16 

during the Civil War, 171 

Brother of Edward V. born 

at, 20 
Captured by Llewelyn the 

Great, 18 

the Parliament, 186-188 

Charter taken away by 

James II., 22 
Council of War held at, 

Defence of in the Civil War, 

21, 169, 186-188 
Early names of, i, 7, 10 
Fine houses built in the six- 
teenth century in, 246, 247 
Foiled attempt by Mytton to 

capture, 182; successful, 

Grey Friars, Black Friars, 

and Austin Friars at, 89, 90 
Had two representatives in 

Parliament, 201 
Inhabited by refugees from 

Uriconium, 25 


Local feeling and social tra- 
ditions of in eighteenth 
century, 23, 24 

Loyal to King John, r7, 18 

Many Iraitors, during Civil 
War in, 174, 176, 186, 187 

Mentioned as a town in 
Domesday, 26 

Once proposed to be made a 
Bishop's see, 220 

University town, 

233.. 2 34 
Ordericus \ italis educated at, 


Parliament of 1283 held at, 
18, 28 

1397 held at, 28 

Private schools early estab- 
lished; in, 2r2 

Reached its greatest impor- 
tance in the fifteenth and 
sixteenth centuries, 29 
Received privileges from 

Henry I., r5 
Riot between troops and 

townsmen, 174 
Roval visits to, see Royal 

Show, Annual, of trading 

gilds, 136-138 
Statue erected to Richard, 

Duke of York, 20 
Troops in state of mutiny for 
arrears of pay, 186 

Abbey, 14, 70, 196, 246 

Castle erected by Roger de 

Montgomery, 13 

dismantled by James II., 


held during the Anarchy 

for Matilda, 16 

School built in seventeenth 

century, 251 

distinguished pupils of, 

21, 184, 224-226 

headmasters of, 220- 


lends ;6oo to King 

Charles I., 166, 223 

removed to Kingsland, 


short history of, 220- 

Shrewsbury (Auden's) cited, 71, 

101, 260 
Chronicler cited, 148 



Shrewsbury, John Talbot, Earl of, 

43, 267-269 
Shropshire : 

Christianity probably due to 

Celtic missionaries, 66 
Civil War in, 162-194 
Early names of, i 
General history of : 




periods, 1-12 

2. Norman period, 12-17 

3. Plantagenet, 17-20 

4. Tudor, 21-28 

5. Stuart and Hanoverian, 

Largely Royalist 

Charles I., 2r 
Royal visits to, see Royal 


Schools, 210-235 
Social changes in, 14, 23, 24 

Archaeological Society's 

Transactions cited, 46, 49 
78, 84, 90, 97, 101, 102, 
139, 269 

Folk-Lore (Miss Burne's), 

cited, 7, 67 

Sidney (Sydney), Sir Henry, 21, 
148-151, 157, 160, 222 

Sir Philip, 148, 224 

a pupil of Shrews- 
bury School, 21, 224 

Ambrozia, 148, 158 

Mary, 148, 149 

Siege of Lichiield Close, 168 

Shrewsbury, 171 

Silchester, 65 

Silures, the British tribe of the, 3 

Simnel Cakes, 140 

Sunday, 140 

Simon, Thomas, the King's en- 
graver, 156 

Sixteenth century marked by 
building houses rather than 
churches, 246 

Skeel's Council in the Marches 
of Wales cited, 161 

Slaney, Mr., founds an elemen- 
tary school at Barrow, 232 

Smyth, Bishop, founder of Brase- 
nose College, 145 

Social changes in Shropshire, 14 

Social England quoted, 15 

Society of Friends in Shropshire, 

Soldiers, distinguished, of Shrop- 
shire, 267-271 

Soulton Hall, seventeenth century 
erection, 254 

Sources of Shropshire Christianity, 

Speed's Map referred to, 204-238 

Spoliation of parochial endow- 
ments for monastic uses, 

78, 79 
Sprenchose, Roger, builds the 

first Longnor Hall, 241 
St. Aidan, 66, 67 
St. Alkmund, 12, 42, 67, 78, 79, 

246, 255 

St. Augustine of Hippo, 75 
St. Benedict, 69 
St. Chad, 28, 66, 67, 255 
St. Cuthbert, 67 
St. Dominic, 88, 89 
St. Dunstan, 69 
St. Evroul, 56 
St. Francis, 88, 89 
St. Juliana, 67, 246, 255 
St. Laurence, 143, 148, 154, 158, 


St. Mary, 167, 246, 252 
St. Milburga, 55, 72, 73, 237 
St. Oswald, 8, 9, 35, 132 
St. Owen, 67 
St. Sampson, 66 
St. Sulien, 67 
St. Winifrede, 71 
Stafford, Charles I. passes 

through, 164 
Staffords, strange fatality in the 

family of the, 200 
Stage Plays out of doors, 139 
Stanton Lacy Church, 237, 244 
Stanwardine Hall, early seven- 
teenth century building, 250 
Stapeley Hill, legend concerning 

milch cow on, 126 
Stapleton Church, early thirteenth 

century, 242 

moat house, 241, 242 

mound, near church, 242 

Star Chamber abolished, 153 
Statutes, interesting, of Grammar 

School at Market Drayton, 

Grammar School at 

Newport, 231 
Grammar School at 

Oswestry, 218 

School at 
Shrewsbury, 221 

Stephen de Blois, Anarchy under, 



Stephen de Blois besieges and 

captures Shrewsbury, 16, 

Stevens' list of religious houses 

in Shropshire, 196 
Stevenson, Richard, benefactor of 

Donington Grammar 

School, 230 
Stiperstones, !ead mining under 

the Romans on, 3, 195 

legends concerning the, 128 

mining on the, 195 

Stoke St. Milborough, Heath 

chapel, 239 
Stokesay bought by Laurence, of 

Ludlow, 30, 240 
Castle, legend concerning, 

126, 190 

changes in ownership of, 199 

Church, 252 

Lord Craven of, 162, 250 

Stottesdon, 62, 237 

Church, contains Saxon work, 

62, 237 
contains, in chancel and 

south aisle, Decorated 

work, 244 
Strange, Hamo le, Lord of 

Stretton, 85 
Stuart period, history of the, 21, 


Stury, Richard, a Lollard, 96, 97 
Summers, Will, jester of 

Henry VIII., 264 
Sundorne Castle shows revival of 

Gothic ideas, 256 
Sunny Gutter, near Ludlow, the 

scene of the Comus, 132 
Superstitions, gradual decay of 

old, 120 
Swinfield, Richard de, Bishop of 

Hereford, 80 
Household Expenses of, 

quoted, 81 

Tacitus' Agricola quoted, 210 
account of the defeat of 

Caractacus, 4, 5 
Talbot, John, the great Earl of 

Shrewsbury, 43, 267-269 
Tallents, Francis, of Shrewsbury, 

1 08 

Tarleton, Dick, the comedian, 264 
Tasley Church, fifteenth century 

screen, 243 
Taunton's English Black Monks 

of St. Benedict quoted, 69 

Taylor, " Demosthenes," a pupil 
of Shrewsbury School, 225 

Telford, the engineer, designs 
St. Mary Magdalene's 
Church, Bridgnorth, 255 

Templars, The Knight, 86 

Tennyson quoted, 87, 98 

Thomas, Bishop of St. Asaph, 
pupil of Shrewsbury 
School, 225 

Thorpe, William, the Lollard 
priest, 95, 96 

Three-decker pulpits, 255 

Tille's Yule and Christmas cited, 

Titterstone Wake, 135 

Tolls levied, 33, 50, 55 

Tong, 54, 61, 190, 212, 243 

castle, captured by the 

Royalists, 180, 254 

Church, early fifteenth cen- 
tury architecture, 245 

endowed elementary school, 


hospital, 245 

Towers, the great glory of fifteenth 
century architecture, 246 

Townesend family distinguished 
in county history, 272 

Henry, Recorder of Ludlow, 


monument to Sir Robert and 

Dame Anne in Ludlow 
Church, 158 

Town, the significance of the, in 
early times, 201 

bailiffs of Shrewsbury, inter- 
ference with the school, 

222, 223 

hall at Bridgnorth, rebuilt 

during the Commonwealth, 

2 S X 

Towns, Eighty, mentioned in 

Domesday, 26 
origin and evolution of the, 

16, 17, 25-64 
walled, of Shropshire, four in 

number, 197 

their changed con- 
dition to-day, 197 
Trade, the beginning of, in the 

towns, ?7 
Tradition, old, gradually dying 

away, 120 
Trelystan Church, half-timbered 

fifteenth century work, 245, 




Trokelow, John de, cited, 96 

Troops raised in the county for 
the King, 167, 168 

Tudor period, history of the, 20, 

Tumulus at Ludlow, 31 

Turner, Captain Timothy, Parlia- 
mentary officer, 1 80 

Thomas, headmaster of Wor- 

field Grammar School, 229 

Tyllier, Colonel, reduces Tong, 

Union of England and Wales 

effected, 147 
University once proposed for 

Shrewsbury, 233, 234 
, provincial, founded at 

Sheriffhales, 234 
Upton Cressett, example of old 

country house, 208, 247 
Magna Church, tower of, 

built fifteenth century, 246 
Uriconium, the Roman city of, 

4-6, 25 
remains of, used for local 

buildings, 7 

Uttoxeter, Charles I. passes 
through, 164 

Vandalism in churches, 255, 256 

Vaughan, Captain, of Burlton, 
killed at Hopton, 177 

Sir William captures Apley 

Castle, 177-180 

appointed Royalist 

General of Shropshire, 184 

defeated at Stow-in-the- 

Wold, 192 

personal bravery at 

Wem, 184 

pupil of Shrewsbury 

School, 225 

Vaughan's Mansion in Shrews- 
bury, 243 

Vernon, Sir Harry, rebuilds Tong 
castle, 243, 245 

Vicissitudes of Shropshire 
families, 200 

View Edge, legend concerning, 

Viking invasion, i, 10-12 

Villages and towns, rise of the, 9 

Village schools endowed for ele- 
mentary education, 232, 233 

Viroconium, see Uriconium 

Vision of Piers Plowman quoted, 

91, 92 
Visitation of Shropshire, quoted, 

107, 272 
Vivary (fish pond) at Newport, 47, 

Voltaire's comparison of Fletcher 

of Madeley, 117 
Voysey, John, Bishop of Exeter, 


Wakeman, Sir Offley, cited, 139 
Wakes in Shropshire, 132-135 

at well sides, 132, 133 

on hill-tops, 132, 135 

Walcot, John, endows village 
school at Lydbury North, 


Wales, Union of England and, 
effected, 147 

work of the Council of the 

Marches in, 143-161 

Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy 
cited, 105 

Walled towns of Shropshire in 
mediaeval times, 197 

Waller, Sir William, Parliamen- 
tary General, 170 

Wallop, Henry, fierce Republican, 

Walls of Oswestry, 36, 37 

of Shrewsbury, 27 

Walsingham, Sir Francis, 150 

Thomas, 96 

Walter the Pennyless, 82 

Edmund, monument of in St. 

Laurence's Church, Lud- 
low, 158 

War, the Civil, not a class 
struggle, but one of religion 
and government, 207 

Council of, held in Shrews- 
bury, 169 

Wareham Castle, where Robert de 
Belesme died a prisoner, 15 

Waring, Edmund, becomes owner 
of Humphreston after the 
Civil War, 194 

Edward, Senior Wrangler, 

pupil of Shrewsbury School, 

Wars of the Roses, 19, 20 

Water myths, 129-136 

Waties, Edmund, monument of, 
in St. Laurence's Church, 
Ludlow, 158 

Wattlesburgh, 61 



Wavcrers in the Civil War, 207 
Waves of conquest passed over the 
county, 2-14 

1. Prehistoric, 2 

2. Celts, 3 

3. Gauls, 3 

4. Brythons, 3 

5. Roman, 4-6 

6. Saxon, Jute, and Angle, 

7. Danish, 10-12 

8. Norman, 12-14 
Webster, Peter, founded Whitting- 

ton Grammar School, 232 
Weld, John, of Willey, High 
Sheriff, 162 

Sir John, of Willey, Royalist 

leader, 169 

Wellington, history and anti- 
quities of, 53, 54 
Charles I. makes an impor- 
tant declaration at, 164 

Church captured by Colonel 

Mytton for Parliament, 178 

rebuilt in 1790, 253 

Grammar School, 216-220 

old market house, now dis.- 

appeared, 247 
Wells, legends concerning, 131, 


Well, St. Oswald's, at Oswestry, 132 
Welsh cloth, trade in, 29 
intermittent wars with the, 

17, 19 

settlements in Clun Forest 

and the hill country behind 

Oswestry, 10 
Welshpool, regiment of Royal 

horse surprised and cut up 

at, 183 
Wem, history and antiquities of, 

BO, 5i 

Grammar School, short his- 
tory of, 229 
occupied and fortified during 

the Civil War, 171 

stormed by the Royalists, 173 

unsuccessful investment of, 

by the Royalists, 180, 181, 

Wenlock, history and antiquities 

of, 54-56, 67 

annual festival, 136 

Edge, new road made by 

Henry I. over, 15 
had two representatives in 

Parliament, 201 

Wenlock Priory, 14, 72, 73, 237 
Prior's House at, one of 

the oldest in the county, 

Wesley, John, in Shropshire, 114- 


Wessex, the kingdom of, 9 
Westminster Assembly, 105 
Weston, see Whitchurch 
West Saxons, invasion of, under 

Ceawlin, 7-9 

Whitchurch, history and anti- 
quities of, 42-44 
Church, a dignified eighteenth 

century building, 254 
the burial-place of John 

Talbot, the great Earl of 

Shrewsbury, 269 

fall of, 240 

Grammar School, 220 

headquarters of Royalist army 

in Civil War, 169 
surprised and captured by Sir 

William Brereton, 170, 172 

visited by Charles I., 166 

White Abbey at Alberbury, 81 

Friars, the, in Shropshire, 90 

Whitehall, the, in Shrewsbury, 

207, 208, 248 
Whiteladies, nunnery near 

Boscobel, 75 

legends of, 129 

Whitgift, Bishop of Worcester, 

I 5 I 

Whitmore, Sir William, of Apley 
Park, and his sons cap- 
tured, 186 

builds a school and 

master's house for the 
Bridgnorth Grammar 

School, 216 

Whittington, described by Leland, 

castle held during the 

Anarchy for Matilda, 16 
Grammar School founded in 

1681, 232 

rattle of, 182 

Whitton, near Westbury, seven- 
teenth century house, 254 
Court, near Ludlow, example 

of old house, 208, 250 
Wigmore castle besieged and 

taken by Henry II., 17 
Wilcockes, John, headmaster of 

Oswestry Grammar School, 




Wild Edric, 13, 37, 128, 131 

Humphrey Kynaston, the out- 
law, 129 

"Wilderhope, a sixteenth century 
house, 247 

Willey Hall, built about 1815, 256 

William the Conqueror's rule in 
Shropshire, 12-14 

de Warren, 42 

Peverel, 83 

Williams, John, pupil of Ludlow 
Grammar School, 215 

J. H., town clerk of Lud- 
low, 157 

Freeman, Captain, quoted, 

2 37 
William, Speaker, pupil of 

Shrewsbury School, 225 
Willier, Captain, assists from 

within at the capture of 

Shrewsbury, 187 
Willis, Sir Richard, Royalist 

leader, 175 
Wingfield, John, Parliamentary 

leader, 168, 194, 248, 251 
Wishing Wells, 131, 132 
Witches, a secret society, 122 
-frolics, 122 

-legends concerning, 126 

Withiford manor house, 243 
Wolfhere, son of Penda, lays 

waste the country, 9 
Wolsey, Cardinal, 145, 146 
Wombridge Priory, 44, 54, 80, 238 
Women's appeal at the siege of 

Oswestry, 181 
Wood, Basil, his list of county 

families, 205, 206 
Woodhouse, Austin Friars' settle- 
ment at, 90 

Woodhouse, Rev. John, head of 

the provincial University at 

Sheriffhales, 234 

Sir Michael, Royalist Com- 
mander, 168-170 
Woodwork, interesting, of the 

seventeenth century, 252 
Woolley, Bishop of Clonfert, a 

pupil of Shrewsbury School, 


Wootton, 6r 
Worcester, Battle of, 21 
Worfield Church has chancel of 

fourteenth century, 244 
fifteenth century spire 

work, 246 

Grammar School, 228, 229 

Worthen, 6r 

Worthines of Wales (Churchyard) 

quoted, 143 
Wrekin, chief Roman city of 

Shropshire, near, 4 
legend how the mountain 

was first formed, 125, 126 

legends concerning the, 124 

Wakes, 134 

Wright's Uriconium cited, 7 
Wrockwardine Church, 244 
Wroxeter Church, early cross 

built into, 236 
has Saxon work and 

Roman stones, 237, 248 
Wycherley, William, dramatist, 


Wycliffe, John, 94, 95 
Wyle Cop, Shrewsbury, Henry 

VII. slept in a house still 

remaining on, 20 
Wynn, Colonel, killed at the 

storming of Wem, 173 

Bemrose & Sons Limited, Derby and London 

Selected from the Catalogue of 


flDemonalg of tbe Counties of 


Edited by the Rev. P. H. DITCHFIELD, M.A., F.S.A., Editor of 
" Memorials of Old Buckinghamshire." Dedicated by kind per- 
mission to the Right Hon. the Earl of Jersey, G.C.B., G.C.M.G. 
With numerous Illustrations. Demy 8vo, cloth extra, gilt top. 
Price is/- net. 

" This beautiful book contains an exhaustive history of ' the wondrous Oxford,' to which so many 
distinguished scholars and politicians look back with affection. We must refer the reader to the 
volume itself . . . and only wish that we had space to quote extracts from its interesting pages." 


Edited by F. J. SNELL, M.A., Author of " A Book of Exmoor,"&c. 
Dedicated by kind permission to the Right Hon. Viscount 
Ebrington, Lord Lieutenant of the County. With numerous 
Illustrations. Demy 8vo, cloth extra, gilt top. Price IS/- net. 

" A fascinating volume, which will be prized by thoughtful Devonians wherever they may be 
found . . . richly illustrated, some rare engravings being represented." North Devon Journal. 


Edited by Rev. COMPTON READE, M. A., Author of "Vera Effigies," 
" A Memoir of Charles Reade, D.C.L.," &c. Dedicated by kind 
permission to Sir John G. Cotterell, Bart., Lord Lieutenant of the 
County. With numerous Illustrations. Demy 8vo, cloth extra, 
gilt top. Price is/- net. 

" Another of these interesting volumes like the ' Memorials of Old Devonshire," which we noted 
a week or two ago, containing miscellaneous papers on the history, topography, and families of the 
county by competent writers, with photographs and other illustrations." Times. 


Edited by PERCY CROSS STANDING, Author of "The Battles of 
Hertfordshire," &c. Dedicated by kind permission to the Right Hon. 
the Earl of Clarendon, G.C.B., Lord Chamberlain. With numerous 
Illustrations. Demy 8vo, cloth extra, gilt top. Price IS/- net. 

" . . . The book, which contains some magnificent illustrations, will be warmly welcomed 
by all lovers of our county and its entertaining history." West Herts and Watford Observer. 

" . . . The volume as a whole is an admirable and informing one, and all Hertfordshire folk 
should possess it, if only as a partial antidote to the suburbanism which threatens to overwhelm their 
beautiful county." Guardian. 


Edited by the Rev. G. E. JEANS, M.A., F.S.A., Author of Murray's 
" Handbook to Hampshire." Dedicated by kind permission to His 
Grace the Duke of Wellington, K.G. With numerous Illustrations. 
Demy 8vo, cloth extra, gilt top. Price I5/- net. 

" ' Memorials of the Counties of England ' is worthily carried on in this interesting and readable 
volume. " Scotsman. 


Edited by F. J. SNELL, M.A., Editor of "Memorials of Old 
Devonshire." Dedicated by kind permission to the Most Hon. 
the Marquess of Bath. With numerous Illustrations. Demy 8vo, 
cloth extra, gilt top. Price is/- net. 

"_In these pages, as in a mirror, the whole life of the county, legendary, romantic, historical, comes 
into vie_w, for in truth the book is written with a happy union of knowledge and enthusiasm a fine bit 
of glowing mosaic put together by fifteen writers into a realistic picture of the county. "Standard. 


Edited by ALICE DRYDEN, Editor of " Memorials of Old 
Northamptonshire." With numerous Illustrations. Demy 8vo, 
cloth extra, gilt top. Price is/- net. 

"The admirable series of County Memorials . . . will, it is safe to say, include no volume of 
greater interest than that devoted to Wiltshire." Daily Telegraph. 


Edited by THOMAS AUDEN, M.A., F.S.A., author of "Shrewsbury : 
a Historical and Topographical account of the town," etc., with 
numerous Illustrations. Demy 8vo, cloth extra, gilt top. Price 
IS/- net. 

Among the contributors are : Charlotte S. Burne, John E. Auden, M.A., the late Stanley 
Leighton, M.P., F.S.A., Henrietta M. Auden, F.R.Hist.S., and other eminent writers. 


Edited by P. H. DITCHFIELD, M.A., F.S.A., and GEORGE CLINCH, 
F.G.S. Dedicated by special permission to the Rt. Hon. Lord 
Northbourne, F.S.A. With numerous Illustrations. Demy 8vo, 
cloth extra, gilt top. Price is/- net. 

Among the contributors are : Sebastian Evans, Hon. Sec. Kent Archaeological Society ; Aymer 
Vallance, M.A., F.S.A. ; Philip Sidney ; Harold Sands, F.S.A. , M.I.M.E. ; Rev. Canon Benham, 
D.D., F.S.A. ; J. H. Allchin ; J. Tavenor-Perry, and other eminent writers. 

The following volumes are in preparation : 

With numerous Illustrations. Demy 8vo, cloth extra, gilt top. Price to sub- 
scribers before publication, 10/6 each net. 




M.A., F.S.A. 




D.Litt., &c. 









Being further information relating to this interesting fabrique, by 
WILLIAM BEMROSE, F.S.A., author of " Bow, Chelsea and Derby 
Porcelain." Illustrated with 27 Coloured Art Plates, 2 1 Collotype 
Plates, and numerous line and half-tone Illustrations in the text. 
Bound in handsome " Longton-blue " cloth cover suitably designed. 
Price, 42/- net. 

" This magnificent work on the famous Longton Hall ware will be indispensable to the 
collector. " Bookman. 

ires which characterize 
'ill be aided thereto by 


Compiled, with Preface and Indexes, for Sir Henry Howe Bemrose, 
Kt., by ISAAC HERBERT JEAYES, Assistant Keeper in the Depart- 
ment of MSS., British Museum. Royal 8vo, cloth, gilt top. 
Price 42/- net. 

"The book must always prove of high value to investigators in its own recondite field of research, 
and would form a suitable addition to any historical library." Scotsman. 


3,000 Selected Auction Sale Records ; 1,600 Separate Valuations; 
660 Articles. Illustrated with 87 Collotype Plates. 300 pages. 
Royal 410, cloth. Price, 42/- net. 

"A most comprehensive and abundantly illustrated volume. . . . Enables even the most inex- 
perienced to form a fair opinion of the value either of a single article or a collection, while as a 
reference and reminder it must prove of great value to an advanced student." Daily Telegraph. 

" A finely-got-up book, copiously and well illustrated, giving detailed auction records and other 
information of value to buyer, seller, and owner." Times. 

" The work is beautifully illustrated, with reproductions of many of the rarest examples of 
the Silversmith's art, and it should prove invaluable to all who possess old silver." Morning Post. 


With an Artistic, Industrial and Critical Appreciation of their 
Productions. By M. L. SOLON, the well-known Potter Artist and 
Collector. In one handsome volume. Royal 8vo, well printed in 
clear type on good paper, and beautifully illustrated with 20 full- 
page Coloured Collotype and Photo-Chromotype Plates and 48 
Collotype Plates on Tint. Artistically bound. Price 52/6 net. 

" Mr. Solon writes not only with the authority of the master of technique, but likewise with that 
of the accomplished artist, whose exquisite creations command the admiration of the connoisseurs of 
to-day." A thentzum. 

" Like the contents arid the illustrations, the whole get-up of the book is excellent to a degree 
which is not often met with even in English books. ... a real mine of information and a beautiful 
work of art." Tonindustrie-Zeitung, Berlin. 

" Written in a very clear and lucid style, it is a practically exhaustive account of the evolution 
of English Porcelain." Connoisseur. 

MANX CROSSES ; or The Inscribed and Sculptured Monuments 
of the Isle of Man, from about the end of the Fifth to the 
beginning of the Thirteenth Century. By P. M. C. KERMODE, 
F. S.A.Scot., etc. The illustrations are from drawings specially 
prepared by the Author, founded upon rubbings, and carefully 
compared with photographs and with the stones themselves. 
In one handsome Quarto Volume iif in. by 8f in., printed 
on Van Gelder hand-made paper, bound in full buckram, 
gilt top, with special design on the side. Price to subscribers, 
42/- net. The edition is limited to 400 copies. [In the Press. 


By E. ALFRED JONES. With numerous Illustrations of existing 
specimens of Old English Gold Plate, which by reason of their 
great rarity and historic value deserve publication in book form. 
The examples are from the collections of Plate belonging to His 
Majesty the King, the Dukes of Devonshire, Newcastle, Norfolk, 
Portland, and Rutland, the Marquis of Ormonde, the Earls of 
Craven, Derby, and Yarborough, Earl Spencer, Lord Fitzhardinge, 
Lord Waleran, Mr. Leopold de Rothschild, the Colleges of Oxford 
and Cambridge, etc. Royal 4to, buckram, gilt top. Price to 
subscribers, 2i/- net. \ln the Press. 


By E. ALFRED JONES. With Illustrations of about one hundred 
pieces of Old Plate, including a pre-Reformation Silver Chalice, 
hitherto unknown ; a Mazer Bowl, a fine Elizabethan Domestic Cup 
and Cover, a Tazza of the same period, several Elizabethan Chalices, 
and other important Plate from James I. to Queen Anne. Demy 
4to, buckram. Price 2i/- net. 

" This handsome volume is the most interesting book on church plate hitherto issued." A thenaum. 


By E. ALFRED JONES. With many Illustrations, including a pre- 
Reformation Silver Chalice and Paten, an Elizabethan Beaker, and 
other important pieces of Old Silver Plate and Pewter. Crown 4to, 
buckram. Price, 12/6 net. 


By A. R. SENNETT, A.M.I.C.E., &c. Large Crown 8vo. Two 
vols., attractively bound in cloth, with 400 Plates, Plans, and 
Illustrations. Price 2i/- net. 

"... What Mr. Sennett has to say here deserves, and will no doubt command, the careful con- 
sideration of those who govern the future fortunes of the Garden City." Bookseller. 


By SIDNEY HEATH, with a fore-word by R. Bosworth Smith, of 
Bingham's Melcombe. Illustrated with forty drawings by the 
Author in addition to numerous rubbings of Sepulchral Brasses 
by W. de C. Prideaux, reproduced by permission of the Dorset 
Natural History and Field Club. Dedicated by kind permission to 
the Most Hon. the Marquess of Salisbury. Royal 410, cloth 
bevelled edges. Price to subscribers, 3O/- net. [In the Press. 


By A. W. DAVISON, illustrated with 12 plates and two maps. 
Crown 8vo, cloth. Price 5/-. 

" A volume with which Derby and its people should be well satisfied." Scotsman. 


The Modes of Nature and the Manners of Man. By A. R. 
SENNETT, A.M.I.C.E., &c. With Original Drawings by HAROLD 
PERCIVAL, and nearly 200 Illustrations. Large Crown 8vo, 
attractively bound in cloth. Price 6/- net. 

" A book which we recommend as heartily to those for whom it will be a memorial of Switzerland 
as to those who will find in it the revelation of beauties and wonders they have not been privileged to 
behold." Glasgow Herald. 


By the late LLEWELLYNN JEWITT, F.S.A. Edited and completed 
with large additions by W. H. ST. JOHN HOPE, M.A. Fully 
illustrated, 2 vols., Crown 4to, buckram, 84/- net. Large paper, 
2 vols., Royal 41.0, ios/- net. 

" It is difficult to praise too highly the careful research and accurate information throughout these 
two handsome quartos." Atken&um. 


A Quarterly Journal and Review devoted to the study of primitive 
industries, mediaeval handicrafts, the evolution of ornament, re- 
ligious symbolism, survival of the past in the present, and ancient 
art generally. Edited by J. ROMILLY ALLEN, F.S.A. New Series. 
Vols. i to 12. Super Royal 8vo, buckram, price I2/- each net. 
Special terms for sets. 

" Of permanent interest to all who take an interest in the many and wide branches of which it 
furnishes not only information and research, but also illumination in pictorial form." Scotsman. 


DA Auden, Thomas (ed.) 

670 Memorials of old 

S4A83 Shropshire